The coaching staff of New Caledonia’s women’s team have recently been in France in a bid to integrate French-based players into the squad ahead of the upcoming OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022.

One of those players in line to make the final squad is Aurelie Lalie, who currently plays her football for CJF Football Fleury-les-Aubrais in France’s Régional 1 Féminin division.

She was one of four potential New Caledonia players that new women’s national team head coach Michel Berbeche, alongside assistant Cédric Weijeme, travelled to Europe to watch in action over a four-day training course.

Berbeche and Weijeme observed the players in several training sessions while based at the Centre de Regain in Sainte-Tulle. They also participated in practice matches arranged with another Régional 1 side, Marignane Gignac FC, and an U15 selection.

Lalie recently spoke to the Fédération Calédonienne de Football website about the mini-camp.

“For a first in metropolitan France it was encouraging, although it was short and we were only four girls,” Lalie explained.

“It was not easy to train with four. But it still allowed us to work well together and we appreciated the work proposed by the new coach and his assistant.”

Lalie, who featured for New Caledonia at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2018, which they hosted, believes the gathering in France should be beneficial ahead of the 2022 iteration of the tournament in Fiji.

“In terms of the training program and the structuring of the selection set up, it was adapted to our needs I think,” she said.

“This allowed me to better understand the guidelines given to lead the girls from the pre-selection towards a more significant evolution of performance and the requirements of the highest level.”

The draw for the 2022 OFC Women’s Nations Cup will take place on Tuesday, May 10 and see competing nations split into three pots based on their FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking as of March 25, 2022.  New Caledonia are in Pot 2 alongside the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

The tournament itself will take place in Fiji between July 13-30, with nine Member Associations taking part in a bid to earn qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

– Reporting by Fedcalfoot