Eymael basks in Cup glory
When Free State Stars lifted the Nedbank Cup in Cape Town, it must have been a bitter pill for Polokwane City to swallow.
Despite an early exit, Luc Eymael played a huge role in Polokwane’s sixth-place finish the 2016/17 Premier Soccer League season. Bernard Molekwa has a future in South African football and the club showed exemplary patience in him during a difficult season where they ensured their PSL lives on the last day but he’s no Eymael.
It is clear there’s something the eccentric Belgian does very well and his name will ring through the annals of Free State Stars history. He ensured the club will not only be participating in the CAF Confederations Cup next season, but lifted won their first piece of silverware in 24 years.
Whether or not he would have won a trophy with Polokwane City is highly debatable but the 2017/18 season was a strange one. SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits flirted with relegation yet they were the respective MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Cup winners. Because of Ajax Cape Town’s fatal administrative laps in regards with Tendai Ndoro, SuperSport will defend their title next season. That goes to show how unpredictable was the recently ended season.
It would have been difficult to put money on Stars winning a trophy, even though their dismissive 2-0 semi-final win against Kaizer Chiefs in the nowinfamous match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium was the warning that wasn’t heeded by Maritzburg United.
It is a victory for football that Stars won the trophy because there has to be life outside of the big three. Money is always going to be a problem for clubs like these, which makes cup victories unforgettable.
The magic of knockout football was restored in this tournament as the big sides fell by the wayside and allowed the smaller units to revel in their absence. The monies these teams accrue by going deep into these competitions go a long way in terms of ensuring long-term stability.
Eymael was happy with the work he put in with Free State Stars and has no qualms with Polokwane City. Eymael now stands out in South Africa as the only foreign coach to win a trophy last season. This shows how dominant the likes of Pitso Mosimane, Gavin Hunt and Eric Tinkler have been in the past 18 months.
“Leaving Polokwane City was my decision and I think it’s not the best decision that I took. However, I think I participated a lot in how well they did last season. Celtic was another story and I got some bad advice. It wasn’t a question of time and it wasn’t matter of what I did because at the end of the day, you’re just a coach and doing that from the stand is very difficult,” Eymael said.