A crucial month of April is approaching. The target has been updated, the countdown to the Play Offs has begun. This time, we may blow our updated ambition into the world. It would be a nice reward for the entire group, after a season of hard work together. The hunger is there, you could see that on the coast, when kapi Lukas Van Eenoo was able to score the winning goal in added time. The next three duels are all at the cutting edge, against three direct rivals. Saturday we start with the Zebras.
The theme of this match for our club is the announcement that we are entering into a partnership with the Hospital van Geel. The cartoon character Titus can be found on the players’ shirts, which will be sold by auction for charity.
On the sporting front, there was something to note about our International Kemphans. Bryan Reynolds (90 minutes) recorded a monster win with the United States against Grenada (1-7). Nene played 13 minutes with Mali in the win against Gambia, putting his country in the lead with a maximum score of 9/9 in Group G for the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers. Kyan Vaesen scored his first goal for our young Devils, where Maxim De Cuyper could also count on playing minutes twice again, and Ravil Tagir also scored with a header in the Turkey U21 match against Kosovo U21 (4-2).
Another nice news to share is that this week our sickbay was completely empty at one point and everyone was training at their level with us outside. Jan Bernat is furthest along in that, his physical tests at least already showing the best. He is currently on one of his final stages of his recovery process.
Did you know:
- Maxim De Cuyper is obliged to stay on the sidelines after he was shown his fifth yellow card in Ostend
- Bryan, Roman and Mathias should be careful not to get a card and miss the game at Anderlecht
- We played champion in our seat exactly 1 year ago and we entered an unforgettable night then
- Pietro Perdichizzi’s son plays in the youth team of Charleroi
- Kyan Vaesen scored his first goal in the Jupiler Pro League in the outward match
- If all matches this season had to be called off after 60 minutes, we would be at the top of the league table
- We generally score the most goals between minute 45 and minute 60. As many as 15 goals were scored by the Kempen side at that time
- On the other hand, we concede the most goals in the last quarter of the game (13 goals)
If we look at the form curve (last 5 games) of both teams, we are talking about a straight topper on Saturday. The number 2 (Westerlo) against the number 4 (Charleroi). For spectacle, however, you should not (go) to a Charleroi match. With only 4 goals (3 made and 1 against) they are even the “worst” of the class, i.e. they are super efficient.
Difficult team to play against with good organisation. Since the return of Felice Mazzu in December 2022, the Zebras played 13 matches. Three of those were lost, each time at their own stadium, by the same 0-1 score: Anderlecht, Union and OH Leuven.On the move, they are one of the best teams in the country. By the way, it has been from November since they lost another away game (KRC Genk 4-1). Currently (1.69 points per game), Mazzu is also doing better statistically than in his first spell (1.50) in the Black Country.The 11 likely starters are: Koffi, Andreou, Boukamir, Knezevic, Ilaimaharitra, Zorgane, Tchatchoua, Mbenza, Heymans, Badji and Bayo.
Goalkeeper Koffi (Burkina Faso), midfielders Zorgane (Algeria) and Ilaimaharitra (Madagascar) could still be found in the core of their respective countries last weekend to play some international matches. Senegalese striker Badji (ex-Club Brugge), his Ivorian striker brother Bayo (ex-Watford) and Cypriot defender Andreou have also been called up to play an A international in the past.
On the flanks are two Belgian players: Jackson Tchatchoua, one of the team’s revelations last year with 21 starting places, but who is down to 13 this season, and Isaac Mbenza, who, after Valenciennes, Montpellier, Standard, Huddersfield, Amiens and Qatar, is on his seventh club in 10 years with Charleroi. Boukamir and Knezevic are likely to be dropped into the squad due to the suspension of Damien Marcq and the unavailability of Jonas Bager, who are normally central defenders. Westelboy Daan Heymans will also be found among the starting eleven. It has now been 6.5 years since he was allowed to don the Westel shirt for the first time. The following year (2017/18) he had his big breakthrough in the Proximus League and then secured a transfer to Beveren where he met his current mate Tuur Dierckx.
The 38-year-old Flemish-Brabander, a referee since 2007, made his debut in professional football in 2012 with a Kortrijk v Lokeren (2-5). His first game for Westerlo took place in the Challenger Pro League, with a game at the Kuipje between Westerlo and Lommel (1-0), note a penalty kick goal by our current assistant coach Bart Goor. The next three games in the Kempen went slightly less smoothly, with three defeats in succession: Anderlecht (0-3), Tubize (0-1) and again Anderlecht (0-1). His last duel for us also dates from 3 years ago, when we had Virton on a visit. That then topper was won by our Kemphans 2-1, after Brüls’ Olympic goal and one from Ambroise Gboho. Tomorrow’s match will be his twelfth game for our Kemphans.
Text and statistics: Peter Boons