An image from Saturday's friendly match between Westerlo and City Pirates, lost by the Merksemnaren 11-0, with Erdon Daci van Westerlo (left) and Dani Wilms of City Pirates.

An image from Saturday’s friendly match between Westerlo and City Pirates, lost by the Merksemnaren 11-0, with Erdon Daci van Westerlo (left) and Dani Wilms of City Pirates. © Mpics

A relatively unprepared City Pirates lost a friendly game against neo-first division team Westerlo on Saturday with 11-0, but that will not be a big deal in Merksem. More importantly, Spencer Verbiest is the new T1. As expected, the 38-year-old ex-pro succeeds Kevin Van Haesendonck, who left for Westerlo.

STIJN DRUANT

After the departure of Kevin Van Haesendonck, who will be the new assistant of T1 Jonas De Roeck at Westerlo, the rumors that ex-player Spencer Verbiest could become his successor soon spread. A week later, white smoke was already coming out of the Merksem chimney and the former defender of Heerenveen, Antwerp and City Pirates was introduced.

“Until recently I was a youth coach at Antwerp, where I worked with the U9 and later up to the U18,” says Verbiest, who is working on his UEFA A course. “This season I would take the promises of City Pirates under my wing, with in mind to take a step higher in two years. After the departure of Van Haesendonck, everything accelerated. The club thought of me to become T1 and I didn’t hesitate for a second. I had to seize this opportunity.”

Verbiest himself played football for City Pirates for two years. “I know the club and the people who work there. I will be well surrounded and go to work confidently. There is no pressure at City Pirates, you only impose that on yourself. Of course I hope for good results in the future, but the intention is also to stay in it and to ensure flow.”

Attractive football, but also security and stability

The new T1 gets his buddy Stefan Delalieux next to him as an assistant. “Stefan is an enthusiastic coach, who brings life to the brewery and talks a lot with the players. T2 Jurgen Van De Velde and I are tighter and calmer. We will form a complementary trio, which will build on what is here, but will also put our own accents.”

The ex-pro clearly knows what kind of football he wants to bring with City Pirates. “We want to play attractive football. That I also want certainty and stability is logical given my background as an ex-defender,” said Verbiest, who was also a youth coach at Antwerp for four years. “I learned how to deal with a group and had many conversations with ex-pros such as Gill Swerts, Stef Wils and Kristof Snelders and saw many visions. Now the result comes first, without denying my own vision.”

Leave a Reply