Van der Pluijm - “It’s the biggest and decisive game”
Johannes Van der Pluijm, Head Coach of Ghanaian side, Berekum Chelsea has told Cafonline.com that their day three 2012 Orange CAF Champions League clash against Al-Ahly is their biggest and decisive game. He said their continued stay in the competition largely hinges on the outcome of the encounter with the Egyptian giants, rated the most successful club in the history of premier continental club championships with six triumphs.
Below are details of the interview with Cafonline.com ahead of Saturday’s match;
Cafonline.com: What kind of preparation did you embark for you game with Al-Ahly?
Johannes Van der Pluijm: We have been preparing very well for this game immediately after the game with TP Mazembe. This is a very important match and I have been looking at how to get the best from the players for the game. Also, each player is available as there are no injuries or suspensions. We have to get a good result, that is either a win or draw. With that we will remain on course in the competition.
Cafonline.com: Your defence has come under so much criticism in recent times. How much work have you done in that regard?
Johannes Van der Pluijm: As long as you score one goal more than the opponent, that’s not a problem. The missing element has been communication between the defenders. Once you communicate well in a game, it reflects on your confidence. However, we have worked on it. Hopefully, the mistakes won’t be repeated this time.
Cafonline.com: Also, your first half performance appears sluggish. What different will you be doing for this game?
Johannes Van der Pluijm: It has to do with more of psychological than tactical or technical. With reference to our last game in Lubumbashi (against TP Mazembe), the players showed too much respect for the opponent. In the second half, they threw that away and proved that they are capable and scored two goals.
Cafonline.com: Ahly is unarguably the most successful club in the history of the competition. Are you worried about facing them?
Johannes Van der Pluijm: We beat the likes of Raja Athletic Club (Morocco) and Coton Sport (Cameroon), also giants in African football to reach this stage. Ahly have big names but names don’t play football. On a good day, when we put them under pressure, it will be very difficult for them to play. They beat TP Mazembe and we drew with the latter, so there’s no huge gap. We have to put in our all and prove to them that we can play. The most important thing is the players must be psychologically sound.
Cafonline.com: What does this game mean to your chances?
Johannes Van der Pluijm: It is the biggest and decisive game. The outcome will be critical in determining how far we can go in the competition. We have to go all out. Football is a game of mistakes, and the side that makes the least mistake is bound to win.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes