Will Telenet Giants Antwerp qualify for the semi-finals of the play-offs against Ostend today? The Sinjoren do enjoy the home advantage against Bergen, but it is questionable whether they will play at the unusual starting hour – 12.00! – can count on the support of the Antwerp fans.
Telenet Giants Antwerp forgot to finish it in the mons.arena on Thursday. “Fortunately, we have to turn the switch quickly”, sighs coach Luc Smout. “The past few weeks have been able to build up a reputation at home. But it is not because we won with large numbers from Bergen on Tuesday that we will now be able to do it again in our own midst. Today it has to be better from an organizational point of view. And this the full match. In the third and fourth quarter we were nonchalant, we lost the ball, we made the wrong decisions and Bergen punished that.”
The reason that Jean-Marc Mwema and his teammates have to start today at 12 noon is known. The Lotto Arena is not free in the evening, for that reason the Giants wanted to move the game to Sunday. That was not allowed by the Pro League. It decided that both play-off games must be played on the same day. But Leuven also experienced room problems. That will play its belle against Charleroi today at 2 pm, because it was not allowed to deviate to Friday evening. Organizing a match around noon is problematic for both clubs: quite a few volunteers are not available and it is a disaster financially. No VIP, fewer spectators and therefore fewer drinks. Some leniency and flexibility from the Pro League would therefore have been desirable, especially since both clubs wanted to play this weekend, the opponents agreed and the scheduling of the semi-finals was not compromised.