Zulte Waregem will receive major rival Kortrijk tonight. It is gradually one to twelve for Essevee and CEO Eddy Cordier also realizes this, but he remains very serene. “No, this is not yet the match of the last chance for us. I believe in a turning point and that can happen in a derby. Anyone who is Zulte Waregem-minded is well aware of what is at stake.”
“After last Saturday it was of course difficult to get back to work”, Eddy Cordier humbly admits when we greet him in his office in the Elindus Arena. “You hope to win against your direct competitors and it could have been done every time. It makes sense that you would be very disappointed. You do everything you can to strengthen the group during the winter period and then you are confronted with Murphy’s law.”
Yet Cordier does not try to hide behind the impressive list of absentees. “The derby is always important. Yes, we are badly battered, but it is up to the boys who will now have their chance to manifest themselves. Perhaps it is an advantage that we can play against Kortrijk just now. Especially in our own stadium with the support of our fans, they must become our secret weapon.”
“No, this is not yet the match of the last chance for us”, Cordier appears to be a born optimist. “I really still believe in it. We may not always play super, but it’s not bad, is it? I believe in a turning point and that can happen in a derby. Anyone who is Zulte Waregem-minded is well aware of what is at stake.”
Meanwhile, coach Mbaye Leye remains firmly in his seat, the Senegalese therefore enjoys a lot of confidence with the Essevee board. “Fire the coach? No, we never thought about that. That was not mentioned. A new trainer should also work with the same players. I am a CEO who has a lot of contact with the players and who leaves the dressing room to the coaching staff.”
Zulte Waregem’s chances of survival are gradually dwindling, but Cordier repeats his mantra. “I don’t take into account a possible relegation yet.” Still, a relegation undoubtedly has a significant impact. “On the other hand, we received 2.6 million euros less in TV money this season because we finished in sixteenth place last season, the same amount you get as a second division team.”
Yes, Cordier does feel pressure, but he also accepts his responsibility. “That is typical of the profession. I’ve been in football long enough to realize that, but we are doing everything we can to keep Zulte Waregem in the first division. We shouldn’t lie either: mistakes were made in the past,” Cordier refers to the rejuvenation operation that Zulte Waregem carried out last year.
“Investing in young players is a must for Zulte Waregem. Do you know that the clubs are already queuing up for some guys from our current A-squad? When they leave, you know that it gives Essevee oxygen to invest in new talent. That is a conscious strategy.”