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Basketball - 14. February 2008.

Vincent to lead women French Women

PARIS (Fédération Française de Basketball) - France on Tuesday brought former boss Michel Gomez back to the national team hot-seat as a replacement for Claude Bergeaud and also announced the appointment of Pierre Vincent as the new coach of the women's team.

The 56-year-old Gomez, who led France from 1993-95, takes over a talented team that failed last summer to reach the 2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament when it finished eighth at the FIBA Europe Championship in Madrid.

Vincent, who had success with today's men's stars like Tony Parker and Boris Diaw eight years ago at the U18 European Championship in Croatia where he led them to gold, worked as an assistant to Jacques Commères on last year's team at the FIBA Europe Championship for Women in Italy.

Les Bleues came in eighth at the event.

Vincent is currently in charge of French giants Bourges, a team he has done wonders with this year by leading them into the quarter-finals of the EuroLeague Women.

The appointments were confirmed at a press conference in Paris this afternoon.

Jean Pierre Vincent, the technical director of the national team, said: "The new national team coaches were selected after the work carried out by the commission set up by the federal office.

"The work of the commission revealed that both national coaches would have to be men of experience, of having a real capacity in managing a group, who have passed tests at national and international level and are recognised and already possess a good career.

"On the basis of these criteria, Michel Gomez and Pierre Vincent have come out on top for the position for the teams of France."

Gomez, who won 19 games and lost seven while in charge of France, led the team to an eighth-place finish at the FIBA Europe Championship in 1995.

The first coach to hold the job on two separate occasions, he has coached Challans, CSP Limoges, Pau-Orthez, PAOK Salonica, Antibes, Le Havre, Orléans and Saint Saens EBSS.

Bergeaud stepped down in the wake of the failure when it was unclear if he would be allowed to continue in the job.

Antoine Rigaudeau, a former point guard with France who played on their silver-medal winning side at the Sydney Olympics and came out of international retirement to help them win bronze at EuroBasket 2005, had been linked with the men's job but a lack of coaching experience probably cost him the opportunity.

"The choice of the national coach is never easy," said France Basketball Federation president Yvan Mainini.

The women's team had had high hopes of reaching the podium in Italy but lost to Latvia in their quarter-final before being edged out by Lithuania and Belgium.

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