France : Three Belgian players in the French Hockey team for the Hockey World Cup
Photo Credits : Getty Images

France is back to the World Cup after 28 years. They performed twice at the World Cup. The team participated in the inaugural event in 1971 and nineteen years later at the 1990 competition in Lahore, Pakistan.

Charles Masson, Max Branicki and Nicolas Dumont, who previously wore the black-yellow-red jacket decided at the dawn of their senior career to leave the Belgian team to join the French Hockey Team.

This has raised questions about the eligibility of players for various national teams. In order to represent a country other than that in which a player is born, the rules require the player to have a parent or grandparent from another country or have lived in that country for at least five years after the age of 18. Masson, Branicki and Dumonts have received their dual nationality through one of their french nationality parent.

“At one point, we felt blocked at the highest level of the Belgian team, the choice was made naturally. And then the French team came with a beautiful offer, putting the means to achieve something in the World Hockey scene.” explained Nicolas Dumont.

“Our roots are in Belgium, but that does not prevent us from being very happy with our choice.” admits Charles Masson, who has been crowned European champion several times with the Belgian team.

France will be going to the Hockey Men’s World Cup as the lowest ranked team [FIH Hero World Ranking: 20] but Coach Jeroen Delmee – believes his side are more than capable of closing the gap on the higher ranked nations after a period of preparation with many of the world’s top teams.

“We have a young team with players that want to give it their best in their first ever World Cup.” says Delmee who is a double Olympic gold medallist with the Netherlands.

France is in Pool A at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. Their opening match is against New Zealand on 29 November.