Eymael: It's an honour to play in CAF
Posted: 23 May 2018 Time: 08:00
Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael says he’s relishing the prospect of tackling continental competition with his side, and insists they won’t just make up the numbers next year.
Ea Lla Koto secured a CAF Confederation Cup qualifying berth for next season following their 1-0 Nedbank Cup victory over Maritzburg United, as they earned a spot in African club competition for the first time.
Having coached on the continent before, Eymael is fully aware that it is a costly exercise, but insists the experience is worthwhile as he aims to make his mark in Africa with the Free State club.
“I know it costs money to play in Africa, but it’s an honour to play in Africa – you’re not only playing for your club, you’re playing for your province and for your country,” he said. “All these games are played at a higher level, where you can gain a lot of experience, and it can only benefit your league and national team.
“On the financial matter, it costs to travel, and I’ve already explained to my management what we will face because I’ve been in the Champions League and Confederation Cup before. I’ve told them we have to check the hotels, that we have to send somebody before, and be sure about the flights and all these things.
“But I’ve asked them to reinforce the team, because I don’t want to go into Africa and be immediately kicked out, so that’s an important thing.”
Eymael says the Stars squad will be reinforced ahead of next season, alluding to the departments which will be strengthened.
“We will release some players and lose some players, and some have been signed already,” the Belgian said. “But for sure I will bring in a winger, a foreign striker and a number eight to replace [Nhlanhla] Vilakazi [who is leaving for AmaZulu]. We’ll also bring in someone at central defence and at right-back.
“But I’ve told management we don’t need a squad of 30 players – I prefer 22, 23 players, but of good quality. In some games this year when I had to make a substitution, I knew we were losing quality or gambling.
"But they promised me they’ll bring in players to do something in Africa, so if we can reach the pool stages, we can get some money there.”