'I can win CAFCL with PSL team'

CAF Champions League

Former Liverpool and Portugal defender Abel Xavier claims he could win the CAF Champions League with a South African club.

Xavier enjoyed a colourful playing career that lasted almost two decades at the highest level whilst amassing 20 senior caps for the senior Portugal national team before moving into coaching in 2013.

After stints with Olhanense, Farense and Aves in the Portuguese top-flight, the 47-year-old went on to manage the country of his birth Mozambique for three years - where he was lauded for restructuring the national team set-up.

The former Premier League right-back was minutes away from securing the Mambas qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) but was undone by a stoppage-time strike against Guinea, which ended his spell as head coach.

However, after returning to Europe after the fruitful spell in Africa, Xavier admits he's ready for his next challenge and would relish the opportunity to remain in Southern African football.

"If I coached a big club in South Africa, we will win the African Champions League and the [league] championship," Xavier boldly tells KickOff.com.

"We always project a competitive level of teams in terms of money spent but a player can be a strong player and compete if a coach can turn his weaknesses into strengths and reduce the obsession of the price of players.

"When you spend big, you are buying the football intelligence of a player, you are not buying anything more than intelligence.

"Some players are expensive because of the experience and intelligence they can add to your team. I'm talking about the decision-makers. But I believe building a team, you must have a collective effort to make a difference.

"That is my focus, I want to build, I did that with Mozambique. From U-17 up until the U-23, watch what comes out of that nation over the next few years."

Scroll through the gallery to see the club's with most group stage qualifications in African CL history

With North Africa dominating Africa's elite club competition with 31 out of 55 titles in the history of the competition, Xavier feels their spending power can be overcome with the correct development structures and planning 

"I understand when you say the North has expensive players but coaches need to look with different perspectives [to challenge] with a strong collective team," he said.

"I'm not saying having a star player is not important but these players need to buy into the philosophy. Look at my former team [Liverpool], they don't need to spend more than Manchester City or Barcelona but why are they winning?

"Why in four years can you look at them and say that have the best players in each position? Look at how much they spent on each player in comparison to others.

"The collective approach makes those individuals better and in African football, sometimes there is too much focus on star players, all players should be held at the same level."

He added: "You need to raise the competitive levels of all players and bring that balance of mentality which is what Klopp does at Liverpool.

"If the money counts for success, why did they win the league by more than 20 points against Manchester City? Once you make players understand what they are doing on the field - not the sake of just doing things - is the process of creating an identity of [tactical] play and to control the outcome of games. You don't need money to develop quality players."

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