Frank Depestele and Decospan Menen will visit Allianz Milan in the CEV Cup: “Raising our own level will be the most important task”


Frank Depestele tries to get his troops back on the right track. — © Bart Vandenbroucke


It was a short Monday night for the players and staff of Decospan Menen, because on Tuesday morning at 7 o’clock they were already on the plane in Charleroi to Milan. In the 1/16th finals of the CEV Cup, Frank Depestele’s team awaits a difficult opponent from the Italian SuperLega on Wednesday evening with Allianz Milano.

The dress rehearsal for the European first leg was not a success for Depestele’s troops on Saturday. Menen was certainly not outclassed by a far from impressive home team, but could not even take a set in Maaseik. “I was especially disappointed because we missed too many opportunities in the final phase of each set,” said Depestele. “You can be angry about that, but shouting or cursing is not my style. A few heavy swearings, that’s for sure. We have to console ourselves with the thought that it was already better than in the previous league match against Ghent, which we lost 1-3 at home.”

The first and second leg against Milan disrupt the already busy national program of the border team. Before New Year, Menen will play four more competition matches and the first and return match in the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup against Haasrode Leuven. “We are of course fully committed to qualifying in the CEV Cup, but I think the national competitions are more important,” the trainer-coach admits. “We simply have to win Saturday’s league match at home against Guibertin. We are also looking forward to the cup matches against Haasrode Leuven. It will be difficult, but for a second consecutive cup final we have to go all out. But first Wednesday’s match of course.”

“We are of course fully committed to qualifying in the CEV Cup, but I think the national competitions are more important”

Frank Desperate


There is a good chance that the trip to Milan will be the last European trip of the season. Even though Allianz is currently only tenth in the Italian top flight, it remains a team from the SuperLega, one of the best leagues in the volleyball world, with top players such as the more than experienced Bulgarian reception corner Matej Kaziysky (39), the Argentinian middle man Agustin Loser and the Belgian opposite Ferre Reggers. “It remains to be seen how strong Milan really is and whether we have any chance,” Depestele concludes. “I think raising our own level is the most important thing now. We are in a slump that we have to get out of in view of what will follow in the coming weeks.”

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