The last time that Marie-Antoinette Katoto wore the jersey of the French women’s football team was on July 14, 2022, at the Aesseal New York Stadium in Rotherham (England). Almost a year and a half. Suffice to say an eternity for a player considered one of the stars of Les Bleues. That day, against Belgium, the Tricolores validated their place for the quarter-finals of the Euro. But the victory (2-1) and the qualification were tarnished by the attacker’s knee injury, around the quarter of an hour into the game. An injury which forced her to forfeit the remainder of the tournament and removed her from the team. land for many months.

In the meantime, Hervé Renard took over the reins of the national team; her predecessor, Corinne Diacre, having been pushed out after a standoff with several senior players in the group, including Marie-Antoinette Katoto. But, the young woman was unable to travel to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup in the summer of 2023. Her “recovery is on track, but it is too short for a major competition », His entourage then told Agence France-Presse.

Despite her return to the club with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on September 17, she was also not recalled by the coach during the two previous international gatherings, at the end of September and October. “Still a little early,” explained Hervé Renard. Until Friday, November 24, when the coach finally said his name when announcing the list of 23 players called up for the next two Nations League matches, at the beginning of December, against Austria and Portugal.

In front with Eugénie Le Sommer

“We have to be patient with Marie,” insisted the coach at a press conference. She does good things, she is capable of progressing, we will support her in the best way so that she can bring us, in the near future, all her qualities and there are many of them. »

Top scorer for D1 Arkéma in 2019 (22 goals), in 2020 (16 goals) and in 2022 (18 goals), she was also named best player in the French championship in 2022, before getting injured. The previous year, she had also won PSG’s first and only national title in 2021. Since her resumption, the attacker has not yet played a full match. But she scored twice in nine appearances, including on November 19 in the French championship against Fleury.

Among the Blues, she will be alongside Eugénie Le Sommer, who, by her own admission, continues to impress Hervé Renard. The person concerned considered it “impossible” to do without the Olympique Lyonnais player, it was Sandy Baltimore, another resident of PSG – and with “similar qualities”, according to the coach -, who paid the price for the return of Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

First in their group, the French could validate their ticket for the final phase of the League of Nations in the event of a victory against Austria. The two selections will face each other on December 1, at 9:10 p.m. in a sold-out Roazhon Park in Rennes. Les Bleues will then travel to Portugal, to Leiria (7:15 p.m.), on December 5, for the last match of this qualifying campaign and of the year. Before moving on to 2024, the Olympic Games in our sights.