Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael says he feels honoured to be playing in the Caf Confederation Cup next year, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
The 58-year-old coach guided Ea Lla Koto to their first piece of silverware in 24-years after securing a narrow 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup final at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
He also led the Bethlehem-based outfit to a sixth place finish in the Absa Premiership standings to book their place in next years Caf Confederation Cup.
Eymael believes Ea Lla Koto’s participational in the African competition will benefit the Absa Premiership and the national team while exposing his players to a ‘higher’ level of experience.
‘I know it costs money to play in Africa,’ Eymael said.
‘It’s an honour to play in Africa. You are not only playing for your club, you’re playing for your province and your country.
‘All these games are games of higher level and in these games you can gain a lot of experience. It can only benefit your league and your national team.’
The former AS Vita coach revealed that he’ll strengthen his squad for their exploits in the continental competition while looking for a replacement for defensive midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi.
‘I have asked them [Free State Stars] to reinforce the team. I do not want to go to Africa and directly be kicked out,’ he added.
‘We will release some players, loan some players, but I can not tell you the names now because some have been signed but not everybody.
‘We’ll bring a winger, I’ll bring a striker and I will bring a number eight to replace [Nhlanhla] Vilakazi.
‘We do not have to have a squad of 30 players. I prefer to have 22 or 23 players but good quality players.’