27 February 2014

Africa: Roques Loving African Challenge


Frenchman Sebastien Roques is new in Africa after joining Cameroonian side, Union Douala last January. On Saturday, the 40-year old will have a taste of continental club championship when Union Douala battles it out with Warri Wolves of Nigeria in the first leg of the 1/16th round of the Orange CAF Confederation Cup at the Reunification Stadium in Douala.

Union Douala occupies the eleventh position on the 19-club Cameroonian league log after four matches [1-win, 2-draws and 1-loss], and face a big test in the Nigerian side, after brushing past ASLAD Moundou of Chad at the previous round. Cafonline.com caught up with Roques, who has had stints in his native France and Lithuania ahead of the game;

Cafonline.com: What has been your experience in the competition thus far?

Sebastien Roques: It's a bit complicated because there is a gap between the teams,

due to inadequate information. The advantage of working in Europe or Asia is the availability of information on opponents. We know the importance of the competition to our fans and Cameroonians in general. They expect us to deliver the title, but I'm unsure if my team has the capacity to achieve that objective. For me, it has been an eye opener.

What do you know about your opponents, Warri Wolves?

Not much at this moment. We will perhaps manage to have some videos this week. Personally, I have to rely on my knowledge of Nigerian football, usually with strong players. We will prepare like for all other games. We will try to improve on our game because we are not there yet in terms of efficiency.

How are you coping with the absence of Kombi Mandjang, Jean Colbert Matike and Patrick Ngula, who are involved in a training camp with the national team?

They are expected to be released on Thursday and I think their stint with the national team will help them improve their weaknesses. These are guys I have worked with for almost a month and know what to do tactically. The defensive unit knows what to do and we have been working together during the week. Whatever happens that will be no excuse.

What target have you set in the second-tier continental club championship?

The dream of every team is to reach the final. We have realized that won't be easy, but we have an advantage in terms of quality. However, regarding resources we are not on equal terms with Maghrebian clubs and DR Congo, who are financially superior to us. They have the facilities for their aspirations. Now, we have to tackle the Nigerians and will take it from there.

What do you think has accounted for the failure of Cameroon teams to win a continental title in 33-years?

Firstly, the superiority complex must be eliminated and that's logical. Cameroon dominated African football for a long time and was even considered the best in Europe. Real efforts must be made to catch up with the rest. A club like Coton Sport and Union Douala must set the pace with training centres amongst others. There is much to do to get back in the race.

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