SELECTION + INTERVIEW ALEXANDER BLESSIN
Tomorrow is finally the day. After waiting impatiently for a little over a year, we will finally welcome supporters in the Diaz Arena tomorrow. At 20.45 KVO kicks off the competition against Charleroi. At 11.15h there will be another training at the Schorre and we call on our fans to be present on that last training to give our boys a vocal boost.
Alexander Blessin can count on an almost fit core, only the unfortunate Cameron McGeehan is missing. He is revalidating in England and will be out for a while.
At Charleroi the most striking newcomers are goalkeeper Koffi, who comes over from Mouscron, and Algerian midfielder Zorgane. The latter only started training yesterday. Tenants Benavente, Rezaei, Teodorczyk and Vranjes returned to their clubs. With Edward Still a young, ambitious coach arrived.
Last season they won at home against Charleroi with 3-2. Sakala, Hendry and Hjulsager were then at the gun for Oostende. For the Zebras, Nicholson and Rezaei scored.
Hubert, Schelfhout, Jakel, Tanghe, Hendry, Medley, Theate, Capon, Ndicka, D'Haese, Osifo, D'Arpino, Amade, Batzner, Boonen, Rocha, Patoulidis, Berte, Kvasina, Gueye.
Referee: Erik Lambrechts
Ass..: Blaise and Tiesters
Fourth off: Vermeiren
VAR: Wesli De Cremer
The day before the first match we also had a chat with the trainer.
Coach, how did the prep go?
"Our last game against Mouscron was moderately positive for me. Defensively we gave nothing away and offensively we had five good chances. Only the finishing was lacking. Mouscron played very low, so we had a surprising amount of ball possession and time. Against Amiens I was less satisfied. We played against a physically strong team and had difficulties. But practice matches are also there to try things out. We saw for example Alfons Amade He convinced us of his abilities. It's a pity we couldn't play the friendly against Anderlecht. It meant we were out of the game for a while. But all in all I'm pretty satisfied. The players that went through the full preparation will certainly be ready. Players like Rocha, Gueye, Theate and Hendry missed a part of the preparation due to all sorts of circumstances and might not be one hundred percent yet. With McGeehan, however, we only have one injury. So overall I do think we are ready."
Is it an advantage that many players already know your game system?
"Very much so. Last season we started from zero. Especially the players who were already there, suddenly had to play with a different mindset. Now most of the players knew from day one where I wanted to go and how that had to be translated on the pitch. That means we can still intensify our system."
Of course, some players left as well.
"That's true but most of them have been replaced in the meantime. Andrew Hjulsager was a key player, but was replaced by Kenny Rocha. We already had Nick Bätzner to replace Kevin Vandendriessche, and Indy Boonen also showed his ability in the play-offs and during this preparation. On top of that we have youth product Manu Osifo actually a new transfer. He has yet to turn 18, but is already showing great things.
The position of Jelle Bataille can be filled by several players. Only for Fashion Sakala we don't really have a replacement yet. His speed and goals will certainly be missed, but that will also be fine. The transfer market is very slow to take off after the Covid. Not only in Belgium, but also in Europe. I know that German clubs take a lot of young players on training, because otherwise the selections are too small. Of course, as a coach you prefer to have a complete core at the start of the preparation and the league, but it is what it is. I have the feeling that first some big stones have to move on the market before an avalanche of international and national transfers will follow."
Good luck tomorrow !
Watch the video interview with Blessin here tomorrow !