Transfer, life in Brussels and adaptation to Belgian football: Zirkzee, Kouamé, Ashimeru and Verbruggen were in the RSCA Podcast

They left Florence, Munich, Salzburg or Breda for Brussels. After the meticulous work carried out by the Mauves scouting and sports unit, came the first discussion with the coach.

“When Anderlecht came knocking on my door I wanted to know a little moreJoshua Zirkzee reveals. I spoke with Kompany and I was directly convinced. The negotiations lasted longer than expected, but from this phone call I pushed for the agreement to be reached as quickly as possible. “

Christian Kouamé was also attracted in this way. “I was about to leave for the Olympics with the Ivory Coast and my agent called me to let me know of Anderlecht’s interest. He organized a videoconference with Vinnie. I was happy because it was is a respected person because he played at a high level. He called me to tell me what he thought of me as a player and that really impressed me. I thought he didn’t know me not… He gave me advice despite the fact that I was not yet his player. The club insisted that I come and that made me really happy. “

Zirkzee: “At Delhaize, nobody understands English”

In a city as cosmopolitan as Brussels, integration is not a real difficulty. In addition, the four men master or get by in at least one of our three national languages. Although he is from Ghana, where the official language is English, Ashimeru speaks French thanks in particular to the proximity between his country and Togo. If French is Kouamé’s mother tongue, Dutch is that of Verbruggen and Zirkzee. Still, the attacker loaned by Bayern, who lives in Uccle, does not yet understand a word of French. “At the corner, downstairs from where I live, there is a Delhaize and no one understands English there,” he explains. “They only speak French. There, I had some problems (laughs).”

The peculiarities of the community in Belgium also appealed to Verbruggen. Whoever takes on the role of Hendrik Van Crombrugge’s understudy has noticed a difference between the north and the south of our country. “I noticed this: all French speakers have very average English and their Dutch is perhaps even worse. But Dutch speakers are doing better. They speak Dutch, English and French.”

Kouamé: “If I am asked to stay, I will stay!”

While the two Dutchmen maintain a bond that goes beyond the simple professional framework (they are both teammates at RSCA and at Jong Oranje), Kouamé and Ashimeru are also very close off the field. They both live in Ixelles, go to eat at each other’s house and enjoy their life in the capital. Even if the Ivorian considers – with humor – that there is “too many parks” . “Here I am concentrated, there is not too much trouble”, has also admitted the striker loaned by Fiorentina, who absolutely wanted to leave the Boot. “When the Olympics ended, I had already decided not to stay in Italy. After eight years there (Editor’s note: he landed there from the Ivory Coast when he was almost 16), I wanted to leave this year. Next year I don’t know yet. If I’m asked to stay? I’m fine here. If I’m asked to stay, I stay! “

On loan from RB Salzburg last season, Ashimeru managed to convince Anderlecht to keep him permanently at Neerpede. A rare thing at Sporting in recent years.

“For me Brussels is like Africa. It’s totally different from Salzburg. After six months I said to myself: ‘No, I’m going to stay’. I’m so happy to stay here, there is everything The club, Vinnie, Peter (Verbeke)… We talk like family (sic) I’m very grateful because there have been a lot of loaned players here like Paul Mukairu who they haven’t offered to stay. At the end of the season, the club told me they were going to buy me and I’m very happy about that. “

Especially since he did not particularly like Austria, even if he had the opportunity to meet players of the caliber of Erling Haaland. “It’s not a country to play football. Over there, it’s a little more physical, but Belgium is football. That’s why Haaland scored a lot there. In Belgium, that play more ball. And if you come back from Ghana, you know Anderlecht is a great club. “

Ashimeru: “I am especially recognized in Antwerp”

Other Ghanaians donned the purple jersey before the median. Yaw Preko and Frank Acheampong for example. Like other African players, the two compatriots of Ashimeru used to go to Westland Shopping, in particular to eat a Quick. The community has never been there before. Sometimes he prefers to go to Antwerp.

“There is no Ghanaian restaurant in Brussels, so I go to Antwerp. Yes, I am recognized there because there is a large Ghanaian community.”

Living in Ixelles, he obviously made a jump through Matonge. “Over there if you pass it’s like in Africa”, he confessed before Kouamé added: “I went straight there. As soon as I got there, from day one, I wanted to see.”

Verbruggen: “Vlap and his girlfriend stayed with me”

Like the Ivorian, Zirkzee avoids leaving his home too much. “If people recognize me on the street? I haven’t really been there since the start of the season. I don’t go to the crowded places. I’ll see.”

Still, anyone who grew up near Rotterdam likes us. “I moved there with my girlfriend and she likes it too. I think it’s a ‘complete’ city. You can eat well there. It’s close to everything: an hour from Paris, my girlfriend is in Germany in the space of two hours, it’s near the house… “

While Kouamé did not hide that he would stay at the mauve house next season, Zirkzee preferred not to advance on it yet. Before Bart Verbruggen comes to his rescue. “For the same price, tomorrow a coach comes with a new philosophy. Or Robert Lewandowski breaks his cruciate ligaments and he gets his chance at Bayern. It’s hard for him to answer now (laughs).”

The caretaker, for his part, is less homey. “Brussels is something other than Breda (Editor’s note: he was trained at the NAC) where almost everyone knows each other” , detailed the one who lives in Dilbeek. “I think it’s a great city.”

Verbruggen even welcomed Michel Vlap to his home during the summer. “He lived with me for a while (laughs). I ran into him in Ibiza in the summer and he was coming back from his six months in Bielefeld where he had been loaned. He has a nice group of friends. Our two groups are together. well mixed. Then, one day he said to me: ‘Bart, I’m going to do the preparation in Anderlecht, but I don’t have a house, can I sleep at your place?’ I replied: ‘Obviously my friend’. He may have stayed at my house with his girlfriend for two months. With Michel, we visited a lot. We went to Knokke too. If Joshua is not too like I still like to go on little excursions, go to a good restaurant, etc. “

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Transfer, life in Brussels and adaptation to Belgian football: Zirkzee, Kouamé, Ashimeru and Verbruggen were in the RSCA Podcast