Nocandy ready for new responsibilities with Metz
Meline Nocandy is proving you can be only 23 and have already lived a lot of experience in your handball career. The Metz centre back celebrated her first Olympic title this summer with France and the full meaning of it has yet to sink in.
“I don’t realize what is going on. I have not travelled to Guadeloupe [her home island] since we won the medal. I have not taken the time to celebrate with my family. So far, everybody seems to be going crazy about it, but it has not changed my life one bit,” smiles Nocandy.
This gold medal might now seem a little bit far away already, as Nocandy has taken on new responsibilities with her club. Ahead of the 2021/22 season, coach Emmanuel Mayonnade introduced her as the new team captain.
“We thought her progression might come through more responsibilities in the group, as I’m convinced she must be able to speak up and become even more a leader than she already is,” says Mayonnade.
As a consequence, Nocandy led her team out of the dressing room last weekend, for the first DELO EHF Champions League game of the season — the Match of the Week in Odense, where she was named Player of the Match.
“It means a lot to me, of course. Being the team captain is, to me, another step in my relationship with the club — the only one I’ve played as a professional for. It is a huge honour,” she says. Is Nocandy afraid that, being only 23 years old, she might be a little bit too young for this kind of pressure? “I don’t see that as a pressure. I’m the person I’ve always been and my personality is not going to change because I’m the captain now.”
Metz's opener in the Champions League last weekend was successful, with an important win away in Denmark. After the French side were not able to play their round 1 game against CSKA, the MOTW was the perfect way to launch their season.
“We were all very frustrated, and I guess from this, we had this extra energy that we were able to put in the game in Odense. We were all very focused, as the first game in the Champions League is always an important one,” says Nocandy.
After stumbling in the quarter-finals last season, against fellow French side Brest, Metz are aiming high again in 2021/22 — in domestic competitions, where the club wants to reclaim the national crown that was taken by Brest, and in the Champions League.
“Last season was the first one without any title since I played for Metz. That was strange, as this is a club that is used to winning, but I guess it will act as a boost for everyone,” concludes Nocandy.