Doha, 12 January 2020. This year’s winter training camp in Doha offered many highlights to KAS Eupen. During their stay from January 6 to 12 at Aspire Academy, the Belgian First Division A club, that has been under AZF management since 2012, had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the 2022 FIFA World Cup flair by playing a friendly against AFC Ajax in Al-Janoub Stadium.
Located in the southern city of Al Wakrah, the 40,000-capacity Al Janoub Stadium opened on 16 May 2019 with the Amir Cup final. For the players of KAS Eupen, the game against the Dutch top-club Ajax was not only interesting on a sporting level, but also due to the impressive environment of the FIFA World Cup venue.
“The preparation at Aspire Academy has been perfect as always,” said KAS Eupen Director General and Sporting Director Christoph Henkel. “Having the opportunity to play friendlies against strong teams is also a strong plus of our stay in Doha and the game in Al Janoub Stadium was a definitely great experience for all of us.”
Despite the final score was 2-0 for Ajax, the game played a very important part in Eupen’s preparations. “We faced a fantastic opponent in a fantastic stadium and it was a very good test for us. It’s a pity we did not win or drew, but we can build on a good second half. It was a good game, because in Belgium we also face strong teams that play a similar style like Ajax,” said KAS-defender and captain Siebe Blondelle.
Besides the game against Ajax, the Belgians coached by Benat San Jose, also played against PSV Eindhoven (2-1) and Al Arabi U23 (4-0), while they were at Aspire Academy. The team returns to Belgium with great ambitions. “We are trying to have the best season in the club’s history,” said Blondelle. “The beginning of the season was difficult, but we took a lot of points before the winter break and we want to do the same in the second half of the season.”
KAS Eupen is currently ranked 13th in Belgium’s first division, they start into the second half of the season on January 18 against Charleroi.