Build a statue for players if Free State Stars qualify for Caf‚ says Eymael

08 March 2018 - 15:14 By Nick Said
Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael celebrates with players during the Absa Premiership match against Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium on January 05, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael celebrates with players during the Absa Premiership match against Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium on January 05, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Luc Eymael says that if Free State Stars qualify for African club competition this season authorities will have to build a statue in Bethlehem in honour of the players as he prepares his side for a Nedbank Cup Last 16 clash at home to Chippa United on Saturday.

Belgian coach Eymael has led Stars to third in the Absa Premiership and one step away from the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals in what has been a remarkable season for Ea Lla Koto after their relegation worries of the last few campaigns.

Finishing in the top three in the league or winning the Nedbank Cup would guarantee Stars a place in the African club competitions for the first time.

A place in the Nedbank Cup final may be good enough as well if their opponents have already qualified through their league position‚ a bonus that Black Leopards enjoyed when they lost to Orlando Pirates in the 2011 decider.

But Eymael says he cannot look beyond their next fixture.

“Some coaches are saying the league or the cup is not important‚ but I don’t understand why‚” Eymael tells TimesLIVE.

“For me every game is important‚ we play to win and we try our best to do so. We cannot say this game is important‚ but this one is not. We play soccer to win‚ just to win.

“It would be fantastic if we could qualify for a place in Africa. You could say it would be a small miracle.

"They will have to build a statue for the players in the town here‚” he joked.

“But will we do it? Only God knows. I am not God‚ I am just a coach‚ working hard and with passion.

"I said at the beginning that I wanted to get Stars into the top eight. I think we need five more points to achieve that. After that any points we get will determine how high we can finish.

“A trophy this season would be fantastic‚ but we cannot think of that yet. We must remain humble and continue to work hard. Then we will see where we end up.”

Saturday’s clash with Chippa is the first of back-to-back games against the Eastern Cape side‚ with the teams set to meet again in the league in Mdantsane on March 17.

“It is another tough game‚ but then all the games in the PSL are difficult‚” Eymael says.

“It is direct elimination and maybe we will need a bit of luck‚ who knows? They have a new coach [Vladislav Heric] and they are a difficult team. A good team. But we are ready.”


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