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John Antwi talks Dreams FC’s CAF CC progress, impending Zamalek clash and career in Egypt 

Experienced striker John Antwi has been leading the charge of debutantes Dreams FC on Ghana in their progress to the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup this season.

The 31-year-old Ghanaian returned home to play for his former club Dreams FC in their first attempt at continental club competition.

The journeyman, who has played for clubs in Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia has brought his experience to bear on the team as they have reached the last four at their first attempt.

Antwi, who played for five Egyptian clubs in his career, is among the leading scorers in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup with five goals and two assists. 

The attacker played for giants Al Ahly, Pyramids, Gaish, Ismaily and El Makasa in Egypt.

Dreams FC will be relying his knowledge of Egyptian football and experience when the face Zamalek in the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup later this month.

John Antwi spoke exclusively to CAFOnline.com about his career, his experiences and the upcoming match against Zamalek:

Cafonline.com: What motivated you to return to Dreams FC and play in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup?

John Antwi: I would say with the little experience I have acquired on the continent, I felt like joining the team for their CAF Confederation Cup campaign was going to at least help the team go far in the competition. And also Dreams is where I started my career and it’s like a family, so coming back to Dreams FC, I was going to feel at home.

Cafonline.com: How has your experience playing for various clubs in Kuwait, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia contributed to your performance with Dreams FC.

John Antwi: Well I think with the vast experience I acquired out there especially in Egypt has really helped me with my performances with Dreams, looking at how I was able to score most of my career goals there. Also playing in the CAF competitions during my time in Egypt has really help in how far Dreams have come in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Cafonline.com: Can you share some insights into the challenges you faced while adapting to different footballing cultures in the countries you’ve played in?

John Antwi: Some of the challenges I faced would be the language barrier and also the weather. Moving from an English-speaking country to an Arab-speaking country was always going to be difficult, but then I was able to sail through with determination and hard work. The weather sometimes also become so cold which isn’t the case in Ghana and it was very difficult playing in such weather.

Cafonline.com: As one of the leading scorers in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, how do you maintain your consistency in front of goal?

John Antwi: First of all, we go into every game as a team and the aim is to win before we think about any individual glory, so I will just do my best to help the team win and in so doing I will be happy to score more goals. 

Cafonline.com: What do you believe has been the key factor behind Dreams FC’s success in reaching the semi-finals in their debut season in continental club competition?

John Antwi: I believe it’s the determination and hard work factor. Looking at how the lads keep working hard every day with the help of the technical team led by the experienced coach Abdul Karim Zito and also how the management and everyone in the club has supported the journey so far. Not forgetting the support and prayers from the fans across the nation and beyond.

Cafonline.com How do you assess the strength of Zamalek, your upcoming opponents in the semi-finals?

John Antwi: Honestly they are a very good side with rich experience on the continent, winning 9 titles in all CAF competitions. So it tells you how good they are when it comes to the Confederation Cup. But then we are going to prepare very hard and I’m confident at the end of the second leg we will be victorious.

Cafonline.com: What specific preparations has Dreams FC undergone to overcome Zamalek’s challenge in the semi-finals as you know them well having played against them in the Egyptian league?

John Antwi: Well, like I said I know they are a very good side, but I trust my colleagues together with the technical team that we are going to prepare very well just like we have done for all the games and come out victorious. 

Cafonline.com: Lots of clubs across the globe are reported to be interested in you because of your good form in the Confederation Cup. Are you keen on returning to play club football in Egypt?

John Antwi: For now, the focus is on Dreams FC till the season ends before I think of any move. 

Cafonline.com: How do you personally prepare yourself mentally and physically for such high-stakes matches like the upcoming semi-final clash?

John Antwi: With such games, one must be fully fit so I will make sure I’m well prepared both physically and mentally just like in any other game.

Cafonline.com: Can you share any memorable moments or highlights from your journey with Dreams FC in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup so far?

John Antwi: I think it will be when we played club Africian in Tunis and the stadium was filled to capacity, that atmosphere was surreal. It brought back memories during my time in Egypt and playing with such fans.

Cafonline.com: What advice do you offer to your teammates, especially the younger players, as you approach the crucial stages of the competition?

John Antwi: Well, I have been sharing some of my experiences with them that I think in the long run will help them in their career and they have been taking it in good faith which is very positive for the whole team moving forward. 

Cafonline.com: How important is team cohesion and chemistry in achieving success in continental club competitions like the CAF Confederation Cup?

John Antwi: Very important because without the team cohesion and chemistry among ourselves, I don’t think we would have reached this far. So I would say it’s very important. 

Cafonline.com: What role do you see yourself playing in the semi-final match against Zamalek, both on and off the pitch?

John Antwi: Well, I think there wouldn’t be a special role but rather just push them more especially on the field looking at how difficult I know that game would be.

Cafonline.com: Are there any specific strategies or tactics that Dreams FC will employ against Zamalek to capitalize on their strengths and exploit their weaknesses?

John Antwi: Of course I believe together with the technical team, we are surely going to prepare very well going into that game to exploit their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. 

Cafonline.com Looking beyond the semi-finals, what are Dreams FC’s aspirations and goals for the remainder of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup campaign?

John Antwi: Definitely will be the ultimate. We are surely going to believe in ourselves and go for the trophy because we know it is possible with hard work and determination.

Cafonline.com: Lastly, how would you describe your overall experience representing Dreams FC in the CAF Confederation Cup, and what does it mean to you personally to be part of this journey?

John Antwi: It’s means a lot to me, honestly being part of this young team breaking barriers on the continent, which lots of people didn’t expect from us is a great feeling. So I’m very happy with the little I have added to the team which has brought us this far.

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