Not favorite Club Brugge, but underdog Antwerp won the cup final yesterday. A victory that The Great Old has not stolen, says analyst Gert Verheyen. He looks for an explanation for the weak match of the champion, looks at the situation of Didier Lamkel Zé and also talks about football in an empty stadium.
“It seemed like they were playing with a heavy backpack at Club”
“Antwerp radiated more energy and was somehow more ready to play this final”, Gert Verheyen looked back at the final match in the Belgian Cup in De Oorning.
“Antwerp was also just better, especially in the first half, where the match was actually already decided. They also defended well and there was some doubt about that after the departure of some strongmen.”
“And falling behind Antwerp is not a good idea. Club itself was just not good enough. It was partly unrecognizable. Until March it played with energy and intensity and there was absolutely no yesterday.”
“Why? Decompression is the easiest explanation after you have won almost a season. That it might have been too easy. You see that more often with champion teams, they have a hard time getting off the starting blocks.”
“If everyone tries a little bit less, then in a group that becomes a fairly large percentage. And some strongmen failed. Former, Vanaken, Mata: it seemed as if they were playing with a heavy backpack.”
“But the merit is of course also at Antwerp. They had to build something in a short time, but they were ready for the assignment. That is kudos to the players and their coach.”
Club itself just wasn’t good enough. It was partly unrecognizable. Decompression after such a season is the easiest explanation.
“It is very difficult for the board to make a decision about Lamkel Zé”
Antwerp turbulent water Didier Lamkel Zé contributed. The enfant terrible was fished out of the B core this week, kicked off and played a more than meritorious match.
Gert Verheyen: “He just played well, but I find it very difficult to talk about his future at Antwerp.”
“It is actually very easy to have an opinion about it, to say that you have to sell or keep it. But it is very difficult for the board to make such a decision.”
“He has his sporting value, although I continue to think it is poor in terms of assists and goals. He is not the defining player of Antwerp. Dieumerci Mbokani and Lior Refaelov are much more.”
“But Lamkel Zé remains a good football player with an important market value. And to generate interest, you have to be on the field. But so much has happened in the meantime.”
“I also read articles with players about him and the cup celebration also showed how he lives a little outside the group. It is difficult to integrate that again in the long term.”
“And what I certainly do not believe in is that someone changes completely, that Lamkel Zé suddenly starts to color between the lines. I have my questions with that. But of course he can play football.”
And now in Europe: “Immediately sure of the money: important in these times”
“That way you save a lot of effort and you are immediately sure of the money. In these times any club can use that money.”
“Not that Antwerp has no money, but this will also help them in their development, in their process of being back at the top, if that is not the case.”
About the empty stands: “The fun is a bit off”
Gert Verheyen was one of the few people present at the Heysel yesterday. How does he look back at a cup final without spectators?
“I was very happy to be able to drive to Brussels, but afterwards I don’t know what to think about it.”
“The fun is a bit off, the fun of the game. Everything fun is now gone.”
“Peter Vandenbempt told me that as a commentator it hadn’t bothered me, but I did in my analysis, frankly. But we have to learn to live with it and we are already happy that the ball is rolling again.”
I was very happy to be able to drive to Brussels, but afterwards I don’t know what to think about it.