Chelsea accepts Champions League challenge
5/16/2012 12:04:22 PM -
Berekum Chelsea are prepared for the challenge in the mini-league of the CAF Champions League despite being paired against three former champions.
The Ghanaian representatives, who are making their first appearance in the competition this season are in Group B with TP Mazembe, Al Ahly and Zamalek, all former champions of the continent's flagship club competition.
But their Dutch coach Hans Van der Plyum insists his will be ready for the tough battles on the road when the competition returns in July.
"They are all former champions and therefore we have a lot of respect for them, but we all got to this stage on merit and so we'll see how it goes,' Plyum said following Tuesday's draw in Cairo.
'We have to believe in ourselves that nothing is impossible and so we're not going to be pushovers."
'Big names don't play football these days and so we'll give it our best shot. Many people ruled out our chances against Cotonsport but we all saw what happened," he added.
Chelsea begin their push for a place in the semi-finals when they host the opening group match against Zamalek at the Golden City Park on Sunday July 7 before traveling to Lubumbashi to face TP Mazembe on July 21.
They will complete the first round with an away fixture against six-time winners Al Ahly in Cairo on August 3.
Van der Plyum's side will play Al Ahly on August 19 in the reverse game in the second round before meeting Zamalek on August 31 in Cairo.
And they will conclude their the group campaign against Mazembe at home on September 16.
For Van der Plyum, qualifying past established sides like Raja Casablanca and Cameroon's Cotonsport is indicative of their pedigree.
'So I believe anything is possible in such competitions. We know we're a small club, but we have the men to rub shoulders with them,' Van der Plyum said.