After fifteen years of fruitless trying, now second cup final in a row for Jelle Sinnesael and Menen: “Different function, completely different experience”


A year ago, Jelle Sinnesael gave the best of himself on the field, this time he will watch from the sidelines in the Sportpaleis. — © Belga, Bart Vandenbroucke

I’m going

Anyone who had predicted Jelle Sinnesael about two years ago that he would experience two consecutive cup finals with Decospan Menen would probably have been declared completely crazy by the former center man and current assistant coach of the border team. And yet on Saturday (3.30 p.m.), a year after his peak as a player, he is again in the Sportpaleis, this time on the sidelines.

“That’s exactly right,” Sinnesael laughs. “After fifteen years of trying, I stood in the Antwerp Sportpaleis for the first time as a Menen player in February 2023. A year later again, this time as assistant coach to Frank Depestele. Unbelievable, because never expected. This time it will be completely different. Not only my personal input differs, but also the experience. As a player you spend weeks both mentally and physically working on that one match. You pay close attention to what you eat and drink, whether you get enough sleep and you train extra hard. Everywhere you go, you are asked about that final. Of course, I have been preparing for some time with trainer Depestele, but this time it is less intense than last year.”

“After seven months, I think I have found my niche,” Sinnesael evaluates his new task at Menen. “In the beginning it was still a struggle, but especially during the competitions I think I can make an important contribution. My role in training is a bit more modest. During the serve and reception exercises, for example, you are more of a glorified ball picker.”

To Guibertin on Valentine’s Day

It will be an equally special and important week for Menen. On Valentine Next Wednesday, four days after the cup final, Decospan awaits the move to Guibertin. The match that Menen probably has to win to finish in the top six and play the play-offs. “This week the focus was entirely on the cup final on Saturday and Sunday there is a rest day, but from then on all attention must be on Guibertin. It will certainly not be mentally easy for the players to switch to the competition, regardless of the course and outcome of the cup final, but it will have to be done.”

“We must especially avoid frustration at times when things are slowing down”

Jelle Sinnesael

assistant coach Menen

We don’t know whether and how much money he will bet on his team’s cup chances, but Jelle Sinnesael still decides with determination. “I’m betting on a 3-2 win against Roeselare. As long as the intensity and level of the players are high enough. We must especially avoid frustration at times when things are not going well, because that too often cost us last season.”

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