Benchikha: Yes, we ca defeat Egypt
We have a team which deserves to take part in the World cup and if we do not defeat Egypt this time, we're never going to defeat it.
- The Algerian coach of Tunis ‘Club Africain’, Abdelhak Benchikha or the ‘General’ as as our neighbours Tunisian like to call him, in his first interview with the Algerian press after the end of the Tunisian football league last week, tells his experience of two seasons with the most popular Tunisia football club, he sees as successful although it classified merely at the second place and missed the title.
We had the opportunity to talk about the great decisive match of the national team against his Egyptian counterpart on 7 June in Blida. Benchikha expressed his optimism and his belief that Rabah Saâdane’s foals can meet the challenge by taking advantage on the selection of Egypt.
Before we begin, tell us how things are going for you?
Thanks God, now, I take my rest after the end of the Tunisian championship after a tough season with Club Africain in the second consecutive season. It is a great Tunisian club which has a wide audience here in Tunisia. So imagine the pressure that I experienced throughout this season. Currently, I try to profit the most of the rest.
At the end of your second season at the head of the ‘Club Africain’, have you decided for your future?
As I have said before, now I'm in a period of rest. Then, we'll see. What I say is that I have received offers from Tunisia and elsewhere. I would consider them well as it should but priority will be given to my current club ‘Club Africain,’ especially as the administration insisted that I stay for another season.
So we must understand that you are staying for a third season with Club Africain?
By 30 May, I’ll decide to stay in Club Africain or leaving for another club. But I have to confirm that priority will be for Club Africain.
Now back to meet our Nationa Team against Egypt. Honestly, how do you see this confrontation?
The meeting will be difficult indeed, like all the meetings that await our selection. I am surprised to see so much focus on this meeting without the others. It is as if this meeting is a barrier between our national team and the World Cup, while a meeting is like any other, as the match against Zambia. Winning a match means wining three precious points. I do not think that a victory against Egypt will give us 6 points, for example, or we will qualify directly to the World cup. We must take the match with philosophy. We must keep our players away from the high pressure that will not be beneficial. We must avoid falling into the trap, because the match against Egypt is a mere meeting of qualification in the same way as face-to Zambia.
As a coach, how do you see the chances of our selection to Egypt on 7 June?
Our chances remain intact and for me personally, I am optimistic and confident of our ability to defeat the selection of the Pharaohs though that meeting will not be easy at all, but some data leave me optimistic.
What are they?
Far from falling into the trap of arrogance, the Egyptian football is going through a crisis recently even though our Egyptian brothers are trying to hide the reality. The disqualification of Egyptian El Ahly in African Cup of Champions is the result. I'm convinced that seeing El Ahly crisis means that the national team of Egypt is in a crisis especially that 70% of the composition of the team comes from El Ahly. Personally, I expected this fall because of the great fatigue of the players who have not rested for 4 seasons.
Ennahar / Yacine A.