The Flandriens and the Brabançons neutralized each other (2-2), but they demonstrated that they will have to be counted on throughout the season to compete with the favorites.
As expected, the honorary division championship will be undecided and many clubs could do well and take advantage of the probable downturns of certain favorites. This will certainly be the case for Louvain and Gantoise which currently occupy, and quietly, 4th and 5th place in the standings after 4 days. A duel at daggers drawn that ended with a fairly logical division. “I knew that we should expect this type of reception from our opponent”, immediately recognized Pascal Kina, the Ghent coach. “But we should have come away with the 3 points if I refer to our second half. We played well in the second half, but there is still work to be done to improve. It is necessary to acquire certain automatisms, but it is not easy. When we hesitate unfortunately we make some mistakes. Obviously I wanted to win, but we came up against a good team from Louvain who will take many more points throughout this season. “
After missing the semi-finals of the playoffs last season despite an impressive and very solid first round, Ghent wants to find consistency and consistency. “To be honest, I thought I would have 2 more points after these 4 days”, adds the coach Flandrien. “I especially hope that we don’t bite our fingers at the end of the season. You have to stay in the right car and not fall behind the other candidates. But I also know that we will still improve from week to week. “
On the side of Louvain and its Spanish star, Pau Quemada, the feeling was mixed at the final whistle. “There was a half for each team so I would say that is a logical result. The championship will be long and very difficult. There are many candidates for the playoffs and it will be necessary to show a minimum of consistency to hang the top 4. But, for that, it will be necessary to work extremely hard, especially at the physical level. “
The “essential” transmission for Pau Quemada
The Universities present, at least on paper, an extremely competitive and balanced team with talented players like Luke Madeley, Ricardo Santana, Sam Lane or Pat Harris. “I don’t know if Leuven has a better team than last season,” continues the former international (283 caps). “I wasn’t there until the summer. We have the obligation to play the top 6. But for that, it will be necessary to approach the matches one after the other and especially to avoid calculating. It will also be essential to gain points against direct competitors. But it will be necessary to be strong in the head to conquer a place in the playoffs. We have good individualities in every sector of the game, but it is collectively that we still have to grow. “
Pau Quemada had decided to leave Louvain (after 9 seasons divided into 2 periods: 2006-2009 and 2011-2016) while he still had a year of contract left to return to his original club in Egara. But to honor this moral contract which still linked him to the Brabant club, he decided, at the age of 37, to accept a last freelance at Heverlee. “It was essential for me to finish this beautiful story and my career in Leuven. I wanted to give back to the club everything it gave me by ensuring the transmission to young people. There is a new generation coming up and we have to teach them how to play as a first team and get results. “
There is therefore no question of a transition season for the Universities who will certainly play a role of referee, or even more, on the road to the playoffs. Just like the inhabitants of Ghent.