Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Champions League 2013 > Robinson: Anything can happen

Robinson: Anything can happen

Hugely excited by the prospect of what lies beyond the final whistle, the English-born stopper is using that drive to get to Morocco as his motivation. He spoke to oceaniafootball.com to give us an insight into how he approaches a match of this stature.
What are you doing yourself to prepare for Sunday’s match?
I’m trying to keep things as normal as possible. The week has been as normal as possible, and that means working, looking after my little boy, trying to be a good husband. So I am just trying to keep everything as normal as possible and it will be the same in the days leading up to the game.
We’re training Saturday morning on the game pitch, and then we’ve got a breakfast which we’ve done previously before big games. So just trying to keep things just as normal as possible so there’s no big surprises or changes that might affect things on the day.
I know you take each match as it comes, that old cliché, but it is a big one, how do you push that out of your mind and just focus on playing?
It’s probably not until you actually get out onto the pitch that that actually takes place as much as you try. We are being asked questions like, “Are you thinking about Morocco?” Part of you is thinking about it but it’s not until you actually go over the line, until you’re actually playing, that you refocus on the job at hand in front of you. It’s as much as people say, take one game at a time, when there’s so much at stake you do think about it. But then it comes down to trying to focus, once you get to the ground and onto the pitch, on the job at hand.
You guys definitely have the advantage in terms of results, does that come into account when you’re preparing for this match or is it again that cliché of taking one match at a time?
Confidence-wise, it gives us the confidence that we can win because we’ve done it four times. So you do get that lift from knowing we can beat them, and how to beat them. Whereas, if you’ve not beaten a team, it can almost feel as if you’re trying to achieve the impossible. So from that side of things it does give us that confidence. But a final’s a final and anything can happen and at the end of the day the way we’ve been battling it out between each other for the last six games, and the gaffer alluded to it as well when he said the fact that it can come down to a very small detail, and it really does. And that for me is how it can be one moment from an attacker or one moment from a goalkeeper that changes the game and gets the result. So I think the previous results do help, because you get the confidence, but anything can happen – and it is a cliche – but it’s so true.
What are you feeling coming up against their strikeforce? Manel Exposito can be quite an imposing player to be faced with and their midfielders quite handy when it comes to finding back of the net.
Well, I’ve played against those boys enough times now that the fear factor’s not there. It’s a case of trying every game you’ve got to go into the game with your standards as high as they can be. What I was saying before is when we’re training, we’re training with very good players at our club such as Roy Krishna, Ryan De Vries, Chris Palmer – all those quality players. So because you’re dealing with them doing quality things at a real fast pace, it kind of prepares you the best for matches like these.
There has been talk about the competition and the format this season, how do you feel about the format as a player? Has it been difficult given there’s a lot of matches in a short period of time?
I’ve got a really understanding employer, and we all have to as most of the Waitakere boys are also working full time, and I’ve also got a little one-year-old, so having an understanding wife and being able to have time away has been a big factor. But aside from that the format itself has been brilliant. I mean we’ve played our domestic season and then gone into this and it just keeps everything together so you’re thinking purely about the Champions League. Whereas when it’s over the year you’ve got everything else going on, then there’s a big break over Christmas. I’ve actually really enjoyed it and it’s come to a head now and we’re lucky we’ve got two Auckland teams so it puts a bit more of a spotlight on it for us here in New Zealand.
Do you think it’s helped keep it at the forefront of everyone’s minds, including the fans and spectators? Because when it is spread out, as you say, you can forget about it.
Yeah so before it was a bit like, “When is the next O-League game? Oh it’s coming up.” Whereas this is every week and the other thing is, the results are really important. Every game is important in the O-League, especially in our group where we had the Tahitians who are a really, really talented side. If you lose one game that can affect the whole remainder of your competition. So knowing that if you lose you’re going to be playing the next week to try and put that right, that’s good from a footballer’s point-of-view. You know you have next week to try and put it right. If you’re playing in the ASB Premiership you might win a game one week, lose next week, you know you have each week to try and put it right. In the old format of this competition, you’d lose and then you’d have three months before you could try and put it right. So it does make a difference.
In terms of keeping match-fit and ready for each match is it a benefit having this compressed format?
For me as a goalkeeper it’s a slightly different kind of fitness but for the outfield boys it’s pretty tough because it’s a lot of travel. So when we’re going overseas, we’re flying say on a Thursday morning early, we’re getting back on a Monday or a Sunday and in that time there’s a lot of travel and a lot of relaxing because of the fact that you don’t want to get overtired. Then you’ve got to try and get your fitness back when you return home to get ready for the next game. So for the outfield boys I think it’s been pretty tough physically but I think we’ve coped pretty well and in fairness to the management I think we’ve had a good season of fitness work, I don’t think we’ve played the season with a lot of unfit players, we’re all racehorses, we’re all athletes. The other thing is we’ve got really good depth in our squad, we’ve got a lot of players and having a lot of good players means some can have a rest one week and the player replacing them is equally as good.
And finally, can we get a prediction from you of how the game might go on Sunday?
I think it’s going to be tight. The way both teams play there’ll be a lot of action, it’s not going to be boring. I think regardless of what’s at stake, there’s going to be a lot of action. Sometimes finals can be quite boring affairs because no team wants to make a mistake, whereas the way our boys play and the way they play it’s going to be end-to-end stuff. Actually putting a score to it, I wouldn’t like to say. I’d be tempting fate.
The OFC Champions League final kicks off at 3.45pm on Sunday 19 May on Arena 2 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, and live coverage will be produced by OFC TV.
The coverage will be screened live in New Zealand on SKY Sport 4 from 3.30pm while those living in other parts of the world will be able to watch live streaming of the match free of charge on the OFC Live Youtube channel.
The live streaming on Youtube will not be available to fans living in New Zealand due to the match being shown live on SKY Sport.
The action will be streamed live at youtube.com/OFCfootball and a direct link will be provided via the OFC website at oceaniafootball.com
The final will also be broadcast live on television in other parts of the Pacific with VBTC in Vanuatu, FBC in Fiji and Telikom TV in Solomon Islands all picking up the coverage.
The winner of the OFC Champions League Final will qualify for the FIFA Clu
b World Cup Morocco 2013.

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