An image from the match between Lierse (black) and Zandhoven.  Mehdi Tarfi did not play yet.

An image from the match between Lierse (black) and Zandhoven. Mehdi Tarfi did not play yet. © koen fasseur

The head is now completely off for Lierse in the new season, after the Pallieters played their first practice match in Zandhoven on Saturday and won 1-3. That happened without Mehdi Tarfi, asset number six already this summer at the Lisp. “I dive with a lot craving this new challenge”, says the offensive raging waters.

Kurt Guldentops

Mehdi Tarfi has no training in the legs yet. Normally he started the new season with Deinze this week, but on Friday the agreement with Lierse felt more like a redemption for the 28-year-old experienced attacking midfielder. Even though he waved off with a good feeling at the East Flemish, with which he realized the promotion from the first national to the 1B Pro League at the time.

“I can’t say a bad word about the club,” said the midfielder. “It is very family-oriented, everything was perfectly arranged. I also had four great years there, but last season I got stuck at thirteen matches. The competition was fierce. There were almost three options for every position. Then you depend on the choice of the trainer. On my 28th I mainly want to play football, stand on a field. That and the fact that there is some uncertainty in Deinze after the takeover made the choice for Lierse very easy for me.”

After all, Mehdi Tarfi was not the first time on Lierse’s radar. The Pallieters have also fished for the services of the Brussels resident a few times in recent seasons and a bond has developed between the player and chairman Luc Van Thillo.

“It is true that there has been contact in recent seasons, but a transfer did not come about then. I was still attached to Deinze at the time. This time I didn’t hesitate for a second. I have spoken to chairman Luc Van Thillo before and I fully believe in the club’s project in which they want to take a step higher year after year. For that reason I also signed a contract for two seasons. I want to help build the advancement of this great club. Lierse will soon have a new stadium, fantastic and many supporters and a board with common sense. That mix must and will lead to success.”

First training today

In the meantime Tarfi has completed medical tests, today his baptism of fire on the field follows during a first group training. Fitting in quickly is his first personal ambition.

“That is now paramount. Although there will be another break in a good week. I will use that stop to train some extra and make up for the lost days of the past few weeks. Then follows another month towards the start of the competition to fully integrate myself into the team. I especially hope to bring some more experience and peace of mind to the group. I knew Lierse last season as an enthusiastic, but also young team. It is important to get a nice balance between youth and experience. I want to play a part in that and create more balance.”

The ambition of Lierse is to finish within the first six and to take the intended step forward.

“That should certainly be the intention, although you can’t say much about how the season will go today. There is only one constant: 1B will again be a tough series this season, with matches in which details determine and everyone has to give more than one hundred percent each time. Every slack is severely punished in this series. We just need to see that we’re done by the weekend of August 12th. Let’s focus on that.”

More chances to get a PhD

1B will soon start with twelve teams. The new competition format, which was presented at the end of last week, will soon provide for sixteen teams and more opportunities to take the step to the Jupiler Pro League.

“Anything is better than playing against each other four times. In this way we are already taking a step forward this season. But it is true that there will soon be more opportunities for promotion. That is why it is important to climb one step higher with Lierse in the coming months.”

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