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  • Interview: Crusaders FC

    Date Published: 09 March 2012 written by Demis Singh

    Interview: Crusaders FC

    Q.           What were the important factors for you qualifying from the group stages?

    A.            Very important was the preparation, early preparation, the team was quite fit and quite prepared and that counted in our favour. We started in 2011 with our preparation because we only on started at the second stage of qualifying which was CDFA in Wynberg. Most of the teams played in October I think, and we kept going with our training sessions.

    Q.           Have you played in the tournament already / tournament proper?

    A.            Yes, the last time we played was seventeen years ago, when Benni McCarthy was in the team, the last time we played in the Bayhill.

    Q.           What are your expectations for the tournament?

    A.            We have a lot of expectations, if we can get to the second round or quarterfinals, and anything further than that is a bonus.  What's important for the club is that we are in our 70th year; it is a big achievement for the club, seeing that we haven't qualified for 17 years, so it's a good start to the 70th celebration.

    Q.           Who do you think will be your toughest competition?

    A.            I think it will be Ajax, Santos and ASD they are much more professional and better prepared than the other local teams. ASD were finalists last year, so you can't count them out, but I think Ajax are the team to beat.

    Q.           What are your thoughts on the playoff performances?

    A.            I think we did quite well because we qualified, but there is still room for improvement and we are working on that. I think we are 90% there with four weeks to go

    Q.           What were your thoughts of the playoff venues?

    A.            This was maybe one of the sore points of the qualifiers, I think everybody complained about it, and I think Bayhill and Metropolitan should take note of that because you can see what teams never made it to the qualifiers, and I promise you they going to blame the venues for it. It's difficult for people who prepared themselves properly to play on venues like that, it's very difficult. That is why when you look at the qualifiers you can see that a lot of the teams that nobody expected to make it, they made it to the finals.

    Q.           What is the feeling within the squad leading up to the tournament?

    A.            The guys are very anxious, they hardly sleep. They are at training from 5pm-8pm, and if you tell them there are games the following day or a few days later then they are there. They are very eager, but I hope they just do their school work.

    Q.           Have you had any special preparation in the build-up to the tournament?

    A.            Yes, we are going on a training camp in the next two weeks, where the team will be staying over from the Friday until Sunday, and there will be training included in the boot camp.

    Q.           What non-playing part of the tournament impressed you last year?

    A.            It's quite well organised, the facility itself and the security. It's one of the nicest tournaments in the area. It's quite safe there, you can look at the amount of people that comes there, they pull a big crowd.

    Q.           Are there any things that can be improved at the tournament?

    A.            The only thing that they can improve is taking the winners overseas to Manchester. Take the winners on a trip overseas to Old Trafford, no other stadiums.

    Q.           Do you have a special message for the squad and fans?

    A.            Seeing that it is our 70th, we must all be behind the team, and they must support in numbers, and that we are behind the boys, I think the whole community is behind the boys seeing that we are one of the oldest clubs in the area. It's our 70th year which is a long time, if you look at clubs like Pirates, I think they celebrated their 75th year, so Crusaders have come a long way and everybody should support them.

                    Vote of encouragement to the players, is that they should keep their heads on the ground, listen to their coaches and be punctual. Discipline is probably the most important thing, especially among our talented coloureds, discipline is a big factor, they are very undisciplined. The players must keep their feet on the ground and they might reap the benefits at the tournament.