Women of Avanti Brugge consciously took a step back and are now experiencing a boom as a leader in the second national market: “We made the right decisions”
19 de October, 2023
Basketball 2nd national (F) Avanti Brugge
Taking a step back and then taking a few forward. The ladies of Avanti Brugge did this successfully, because the approach works. Avanti is currently undefeated at the top of the second national table and makes a fresh impression on friends and foes. “We made the right decision,” says chairman Yvan Struyve with satisfaction.
Too good for second, too weak for first national. The problem of the women of Avanti, but also of many other clubs. And so the Bruges board intervened, with chairman Yvan Struyve in the lead.
Avanti had a team in the first and second national divisions last season, but disbanded the highest-ranking team and started working in the second national division with an existing mix of youth, experience and newcomers. With a new coach and a new wind is blowing in that area too. After established values such as Eric Van Craeymeersch, Jean-Marie Van Hulle and Bruno d’Hondt, a woman is now leading the group for the first time. Nathalie Ingelbrecht trained in the past in Ostend, but also the men from Sijsele.
“She has a lot of experience, can work very well with youth and she knows very well how to deal with young people on a human level,” Struyve notes with satisfaction. “For example, every now and then she plans a dinner with the group and that works. We click, she is also tactically adept and has a good bond with the girls. There is a lot of motivation in training, they are all there and more importantly: we are winning. So we really made the right decisions in the off-season.”
“We deliberately went from first to second nationally to be able to play more with the youth but also to be competitive. At first that would be much more difficult. We also passed on two young girls from Bruges, Lavina Geldof and Lieze Danneels. They also play with their youth team, but we include them in the selection for the matches and sometimes they also get minutes.”
There are also two new girls, Jade Wouters and Hayley Coopman. “Jade is a girl from Antwerp who came to live in Beernem,” Struyve explains. “Just like Hayley Coopman, she contacted us herself. Hayley comes from Ostend, played for Asse-Ternat and Laarne, but then moved to the States. However, that was disappointing and she returned. There was no room left at Laarne, because there was already another girl. We still had room and are happy with her.”
“We built something great in the short term and we now hope for continuity. It remains to be seen whether we can remain there. We are not asking ourselves that question yet, but we may have to decide after the season whether we are promoted to first again or not. It would work for the girls, but the entire club has to be ready for it, of course. Fortunately, we still have some time to make the right decision here again.”