The Free State Stars coach was delighted to finally deliver a trophy to the Ea Lla Koto cabinet after a long and arduous wait, as they overcame Maritzburg United 1-0 at Cape Town Stadium.
“I said to my players, you can’t just play the final, you have to win the final,” he said. “Last year SuperSport United won the final, but most people don’t remember against who – you remember mostly the winner. And we succeeded. I’m very happy that after 24 years we have given a trophy to Free State Stars, and it’s now the first time that Free State is in Africa, so I’m very happy.”
The Belgian was quick to remind reporters about his credentials in Africa, taking a dig at his doubters and some of his rival coaches in the PSL in the process.
“I’m happy for me personally, my family and for my naysayers who were talking about me,” he continued. “It’s my fifth trophy in eight years in Africa, in different countries and not always with big teams. It’s now only my second year in South Africa, and I’ve already won a trophy – I know some guys who have worked 13 years here and have not won a trophy.”
Eymael says he cannot compare his Nedbank Cup victory against the other trophies he’s won on the continent, yet feels this piece of silverware was won in the “nicest country in Africa”.
“It’s difficult to rank,” he said. “AS Vita was a big club, and winning there was a great experience. Then I went to Gabon and also won the league, but there is not a lot of passion for football there, only for the national team, so it was good, but not the same thing. I also won a trophy in Kenya – there were a lot of people there, but the organisation there was not good.
“So I can’t say this was my best trophy – all trophies are good. I’m happy for the club, because the chairman has been investing in the club for a long time – 24 years – so I’m very happy to win a trophy for him, and for his family. I can say this is a nice trophy in the nicest country of Africa.”