Off with Domenech's head, joke supporters

BLOEMFONTEIN - France fans who had travelled all the way to South Africa only to see their national side implode off and on the pitch poured scorn on the controversial coach and his mutinous players on Tuesday.

"I'm very disappointed. I support France but how can I respect them?" said Romain Fabart, a 34-year-old procurement officer as he mingled with South African fans after France's exit from the World Cup.

France had just lost 2-1 to South Africa in Bloemfontein and are now heading home in virtual disgrace.

The players had created a national scandal when they rebelled against coach Raymond Domenech, boycotting a training session. He sent home striker Nicolas Anelka and his captain Patrice Evra did not appear for the last game.

On the field, the highly paid stars performed abysmally.

"If you are a player you can't refuse to take part. It's really disrespectful," said Fabart, who lives in London. "They represent France, but today they were not even motivated."

Pascal Filaterro, 40, an IT worker from Paris, castigated Domenech.

NEW IDEAS

"We are relieved. We are happy that he is going, his head should have been cut off long before," he said. "This has been a disaster off the field and on. It can't get worse."

He welcomed Domenech's imminent departure and said he hoped Laurent Blanc, who will take over the post having guided the French to World Cup victory as captain in 1998, would bring in new players and new ideas.

As for the current squad, he said: "The players are spoiled children. Maybe they should go to a township and see the reality of life."

Filaterro said he was pleased for South Africa that they had won and he had feared at half-time the final score could be 4-0.

Still, Filaterro and his wife Julyane were loving their time in South Africa.

"The people are so kind, so welcoming, not what we were told to expect by the media in France," Julyane said.

A South African had just minutes ago handed her a wallet dropped on the ground by a Frenchman. She found a cellphone number inside and was able to contact the owner and return it.

"Football makes you friends all over the world," her husband said.

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