TFC, which faces Metz this Sunday October 1, will have to do without one of its best players until the end of the season. How to adapt to the long-term absence of Zakaria Aboukhlal?
A few days ago, the Stadium audience was able to appreciate the famous “Haka” of the New Zealanders, during the Rugby World Cup match between the All Blacks and Namibia. TFC supporters will no longer be able to enjoy their “Zaka”, Aboukhlal, injured “probably” until the end of the season as the Toulouse club announced Thursday evening.
Injured last week in the European Cup, the operation @Zaboukhlal went well. Our striker, however, will probably be unavailable until the end of the season.
TéFéCé wishes him a good recovery and looks forward to seeing him again on the pitch \ud83d\udc0d\ud83d\ude08 pic.twitter.com/E3EDqCnc2F
— Toulouse FC (@ToulouseFC) September 28, 2023
If in rugby, where secrecy is not a religion, the nature of the recent injuries to Antoine Dupont or Romain Ntamack were quickly communicated, in football, silence weighs heavily. At the TFC, regarding the illness from which Aboukhlal suffers, medical confidentiality is only half-heartedly mentioned, and still far from the microphones. All that remains is to guess, while waiting for better. But whether it is the crusaders or the meniscus, the result is the same: the Moroccan international should no longer wear the purple jersey this season, and this is very bad news for Carles Martinez Novell and his staff, who are losing their player the most impactful since the start of the season.
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“It’s a big loss for the team, Zakaria is a key player, admits Mikkel Desler. But it’s a team sport. The house can’t fall because you’re missing a player. I’m sure that “others will emerge in his place, and will prove their qualities. It’s a challenge, but it is not insurmountable” wants to be positive about the Danish defender, who will also have to adapt to a new way of playing in his lane right.
“I had started to create a good and solid relationship with Zakaria, we had been playing together for a while. He is a dynamic profile, who likes to attack deep. Of course, the ideal situation is to play with the same guy every times, and now we will have to readjust.”
“Our objectives were very clear during the transfer window”
Carles Martinez must think that the sky is close to falling on his head. Before the loss of Aboukhlal, his top scorer this season, he had already had to start the competition without Ibrahim Cissoko, injured in his right foot. And all his plans are shattered.
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“It’s the life of football, every day everything can change, breathes the Spanish coach. When we prepared for the season, we thought, with the club, about different profiles, our objectives were very clear during the transfer window. The injury of “Zaka” is very important for us, because we lose another winger, and we no longer have this profile of a player who likes to attack deep. We could tell other players to do the same thing as Zakaria and Ibrahim , but sometimes the characteristics of the players are different. For me, it is important that the players feel comfortable with their own qualities.”
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Problem is, there aren’t many pure wingers left in the squad. Will Begraoui increase his playing time? Will Magri help out again? Will Dönnum settle permanently on the right? Will Martinez launch Bangré?
Lots of questions, and the beginnings of answers this Sunday against Metz.