FC Olympique Strasbourg Koenigshoffen 06 offered themselves Clermont (L1) and will play another inhabitant of the elite, Angers, in the historic round of 16. Amar Ferdjani (48), who has been installed at the Alsace bank for less than two years, tastes and deciphers a brand new January…
First of all, how did Amar feel after this qualifier against Clermont?
“We prepared as well as possible according to our capabilities and the conditions at the time. Although we knew that it was a resident of League 1, we did not know what was waiting for us. We hadn’t had an official game in a month and there was this uncertainty before we started. But we didn’t want to regret after the game. We also knew that if we defend well in the first minutes, we will gain confidence in ourselves. »
Did you feel that way on the pitch?
“We had to raise the level from every point of view, be it football or tactical: movements, synchronization, anticipation, everything we didn’t see! By maintaining a certain mental freshness, confidence and calmness, we managed not to break down too much. We tried to convey this in the speeches and pre-match talks. The players learned about this and also knew that the opposing coach might change his team, the field would play in our favor…”
But you managed to compete in the game!
“I know the quality of my group and I told this to my players. If N2, N3 teams can face professional teams, then we can do it. Of course, we won’t be able to have the ball like in the previous rounds, but we showed that we are able to control small periods and put the ingredients to put the opponent in danger. »
Amar Ferdjani and his staff did everything to shape the players. (Photo by Philippe Le Brech)
Amar Ferdjani returned to the dressing room alone
It’s not an easy match to prepare…
“The complexity was in the preparation (laughs). Usually, in mid-December, we cut three weeks to continue in mid-January. There we had to maintain speed. We took four days off for Christmas, but we didn’t completely stop physical activity. My staff and I tried to diversify what we could offer the group: a fitness room, an aqua-bike session. It was also necessary to be able to evacuate mentally. »
So, have you also had to readjust your working methods?
“We tried to educate and convince the players. At this time of the year, it is also very difficult to find an opponent to keep pace with. Thanks to my brother Djamel (coach of Sarreguemines FC), we were able to play a friendly match with well-selected Alsatian players. A tactical way of working in addition to short but intense multi-rhythm training sessions. The players suffered, but we put them in a position to last 90 minutes against a professional team. »
The penalty shootout was supposed to be unbearable, right?
“I congratulate my players for maintaining this calm during the session. They made their commitments and everyone knew what they had to do. My player also took 30 minutes to gather momentum to hit the winning shot on goal (laughs). Then the explosion… everyone runs, jumps everywhere. Me, I’m more of a calm, zen nature, and I went to the locker room alone. I got a little teary because so many good things are happening to you. I was exhausted and so were the volunteers because the organization was all week and everyone’s investment was incredible. There are things we see on the ground and things put in place. »
“Coupe de France is special! »
Looks like you’re still emotional…
“It’s definitely a special moment. On that day, we were all scattered on the floor, in front of the cameras, and it is necessary to savor and take advantage of it. We watched the draw together at a bar last night and the kids were obviously very happy. The dream continues because in 15 days we will face another Ligue 1 club, Angers. When we saw the posters, we could draw Marseille, Lyon, PSG, Lens. We could also run into the residents of National 2 or National 3, so we’ll have to settle for this draw because what happens to us when we play R1 is great. »
The meeting happens very quickly, but within 10 days…
“We have to make sure that we come in the same mental state and with the same composure against SCO, who are not the best in the league. From the Sabbath, requests lead us to the light, and this is normal. It doesn’t happen every day. We had a breakthrough but now we have to use what worked so well against Clermont. We must be able to multiply and possess the generosity and calmness we show to seek this quality. We don’t have to look too pretty or act comfortable! »
Did you expect to experience such emotions six months ago?
“Last season I came from Illkirch Graffenstaden (N3) and we managed to go up from R2 to R1 from the first year with Koenigshoffen. We have the ability to continually hire, enrich our workforce to have the best balance possible. The short- or medium-term goal is to develop in the National 3, but the Coupe de France is special, that’s something else. Even if you are aware of the quality of your staff, you cannot plan or plan the course. »
In 2021, Amar Ferdjani from Illkirch Graffenstaden (N3) managed to lift FCOSK06 from the first season. (Photo by Philippe Le Brech)
Amar Ferdjani “proud of the display this weekend”
Is it an adventure that will leave scars, or will it last you until the end of the season?
“We are proud of the image we showed this weekend, representing amateur football and our region in this way. To be able to perform well on the field, to live up to the football expectations of my players, was even more than I expected. The club and its volunteers have been equally terrible on the organizational front. It is the addition of all these skills that makes the qualification possible. On Saturday, there were a lot of supporters, parents… I watch my position a lot and it’s just a great pride. Now we tell ourselves that we are the last club to represent our region since Racing were relegated… Angers on penalties earlier in the week (smiles). »
Now we can imagine the anticipation around this historic round of 16…
“I have been getting a lot of messages since 8pm on Saturday. With these reactions from everywhere, man understands what he is producing. This is huge for a club like ours and we have to keep our feet on the ground, be humble because we have a mission. We represent many people, amateur football and clubs in our region. My players, I will always praise them, because it is thanks to them above all, but I wish that any educator, coach could experience what I experienced, even for a few minutes…”