Stars coach hails players for Nedbank Cup final berth23/04/2018
Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael has praised his players for their surprise, but deserved, passage through to the final of the Nedbank Cup against Maritzburg United in Cape Town on May 19.
Stars defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban thanks to a brace of goals from Congolese forward Harris Tchilimbou, the first after just 45 seconds.
Ea Lla Koto, who have not been to the showpiece final of South Africa’s FA Cup since they lost to Vaal Professionals in 1994, rode their luck at times against the AmaKhosi, but had the excellent goalkeeping of Thela Ngobeni to thank.
“Thela Ngobeni made some fantastic saves,” Belgian Eymael admitted. “I think we deserved to win but we had to fight for it.
“I don’t think anybody in South Africa put a R10 bet when I took over the team on us going to the final of the Nedbank Cup. But we did it.”
Eymael is known for his tactical thinking and he outfoxed Chiefs counterpart Steve Komphela on the day.
“I only know one coach in the world who can play a fantastic 3-5-2 and that is Antonio Conte [at Chelsea]. For me, he’s the only one in the world who can do 3-5-3. That’s my thinking.
“And personally ... and you will think that I’m arrogant … but I never lost in my life against someone playing 3-5-2.
“We knew that the wingbacks, when they are going up, you can catch them fast on the counter-attack and are directly one-on-one with the centre-backs, who are not really quick.
“We took advantage of that and we were clinical in the box, especially in the first half.
“Our plan of action was to absorb the pressure of Chiefs and counter. It was an easy plan,” Eymael added.
*The views represented are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of Nedbank.