AS Aorai who defeated Mont-Dore in the Pacific Champions Cup will play this weekend a French Cup game vs Le Mee (4th division). Despite the freezing weather in France, the players from Tahiti hopes to shine and go back to their island with the win. Here is an interview of Aorai's coach Pierre Villant made by the tahitian newspaper "La Depeche de Tahiti" and posted on the web by the caledonian website "Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes".
Q: How did you prepare your trip to France?
Pierre Villant: The french federation took care of all the practical details but our preparation schedule hasn't been finalized yet, for example with the Centre Federal in Vincennes where we would like to train and make some friendly games. We'd take care of that when we get there but we don't have a lot of time to get ready before our game vs Le Mee.
Q:How is your team right now after a loss against Central in Tahiti Federal Championship?
PV: We are highly motivated because our players believe they can win. Against Central I think we lost because of our preparation for the french cup, we couldn't play worse and we finally lost only by 2. But Central made a good game and we will try to get our revenge in the Playoffs.
Q: What are Aorai's strenghts for this game?
PV: First of all the entusiasm and the will of the team to make another good run in this competition, last year we played against professional players and we were unable to play our game. This would be another story this year, Le Mee is on the bottom of the 4th division ladder so I hopefully we can compete with these guys. The determination, the confidence of our team and the value of our opponents make me think we can win this game like we did last season against Centre Federal.
Q: What do you fear the most in France?
PV: The cold weather! Our opponents might turn off the heat in the stadium to disturb us, and this would be a problem for us. Frozen hands are not suited for basketball, this another things to get over including the difference of level and intensity of our championships. Le Mee is used to play intense games each week while we are dominating the tahitian league, except the games vs Central. The cold and the level difference will be the two major obstacle wich we must pass but I think we can achieve that.
Q: So Aorai is ready for the upset?
PV: Absolutely. We would start the game with a 10-point lead and a great motivation. If we win this game, then a team would come from France to play the next round against us in Tahiti. That would be great for us and our people.
You can check the interview (in french) there: