Al Hilal SC of Omdurman head coach Jean Florent Ibenge, says he wants players of his side and Cotonsport to bring their best performance to the fold on Friday when the Sudanese challenge their Cameroonian hosts.
According to Ibenge match Day three fixture of the 2022/23 CAF Champions League between Group B underdogs could serve as a good publicity for the game on the continent reason players must step up their game.
“We are in football to play at the highest level. Luckily we have a game tomorrow which is one of such. Its very good for television and gives pleasure.
I am hoping both sets of players bring their best game tomorrow, to produce the spectacle fans deserve but above all, my team gets the desired results,” a jovial Ibenge told the reporters at the Conference hall of the Roumde Adjia Stadium.
Quizzed on what he qualifies the desired result in such a game given his side counts three points, Ibenge stated his side’s goal clearly.
“We are in a sweeping phase of a small championship of four good teams. In such a situation, it is always better to avoid making too many calculations. We want to pick as many points as possible. But taking cognizant of the nature of the opponents tomorrow, a draw against Cotonsport and its massive fans base won’t be a bad result.We don’t want to return empty-handed. I am sure it’s the same for Cotonsport.”
Many are those pundits who predicted a tough group B. Some went as far as tipping Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Al Ahly to make it out of the group. Early signs are things maybe different in the end.
“When the draw was made, many tipped the big teams (Downs and Alhy) to go through. We want to cause an upset. We want new faces in the business end of the competition; either Al Hilal or Cotonsport can make it to the quarter-final.
Hilal currently occupies the second spot in the group B, but could hit the same number of points as leaders Mamelodi Sundowns with a win on Friday while a win for the hosts takes them to the second spot momentarily .This makes it more interesting.
“It is quite interesting, but also an opportunity to showcase the work done by technicians in our zone. Remember I am from central Africa.
“It is going to be a very interesting game. I hope the fans enjoy it, but we must be fairly in the spirit of the game, Ibenge added before explaining why things went wrong for Cotonsport last weekend against Sundowns.
“In the game against Sundowns, they over-respected the opponent. They conceded a cheap second goal. After that, Cotonsport played without pressure and were a better team. Sundowns benefitted from the same aspect against us and beat us. But they are a very good team.
Discussing their past and objective in the tough group, Ibenge said they are targeting knockout qualification as their success in tough group.
“Al Hilal has been in the group stage for the past five years, but always failed to progress. This time around, it could be a great feat to progress from a tough group.”
Ibenge also had time to drop a late congratulations message for Gabriel Herman who has been head coach of Cotonsport in the past two seasons and won two domestic championship titles and a national challenge Cup.
“I hope tomorrow we start a new story in Garoua. But at this level, little details matter. For example; the error from the defender (Youssoufa Haouzifi) changed the last game. However, I wish to congratulate my friend (Gabriel Herman) for his appointment as head coach of Coton after many years as deputy coach.”
The result of the clash billed for 5PM on Friday could completely change the faith of both clubs as they are keen on qualifying from the group.
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