Posted on January 11, 2018

The Belgian Pro League side KAS Eupen, which is owned by Aspire Zone Foundation, is visiting Qatar for the team’s fourth consecutive winter training camp at Aspire Academy, in preparation for the second half of the 2017-2018 season. The training camp started on Monday and will last until Monday 15th of January 2018.

With a squad of 24 players, including the Qatari international Abdulkarim Hassan, the Belgian team features a number of Aspire Academy graduates, including the Abdollah Ali Saei and Ahmed Homam Elamin. Their fellow Qatari teammates at Eupen, Akram Afif, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Youssef Aymam Farahatand and Assim Madibo, are currently away with Qatar’s U-23 team at the U-23 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championships in China. The team features a couple new players such as: 23-year-old Japanese striker Yuta Toyokawa, who transferred from Leeds United on loan, and 26-year-old Ivorian, Mamadou Koné, who previously played for Deportivo Leganés in Spain.

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Claude Makelele, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder who took over from Jordi Auli Condom as KAS Eupen coach last November, is leading his team at Aspire Academy for the first time. Under Makelele’s leadership, the team secured positive results before the winter break, including a 1-0 win against KVRS Waasland-Beveren at the end of December, although the team is currently still ranked 16th and last in the table. However, 15th position, which would see KAS Eupen avoid relegation, is just two points away and the team’s performance is steadily improving.

The delegation accompanying the team includes Chief Advisor of International Football Affairs at Aspire Zone Foundation and KAS Eupen FC Board member Andreas Bleicher, Director General Christoph Henkel, Director of Finance, Legal and Administration Thomas Herbert, and Marketing and Merchandising Manager Andre Palm. Commenting on their training camp at Aspire Academy, KAS Eupen-Director General Christoph Henkel said: “The training camp is a good opportunity to integrate the new players and we have already seen in the last couple of days that our new joiners have good characters that fit perfectly with the rest of the team.”

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During their time in Qatar, KAS Eupen will play a friendly match on Sunday 14th January against Chinese Super League side, Guangzhou Evergrande, who are also holding their mid-season training camp at the Academy. KAS Eupen will then resume their campaign to remain in Belgium’s top league five days after they depart from Qatar with an away fixture on Saturday 20th January against Standard de Liege. Meanwhile, on the sidelines of KAS Eupen’s training camp in Doha, Aspire Academy will organise a press conference with the team’s head coach Makelele, Qatar national team player Abdulkarim Hassan and the Belgian goalkeeper Hendrik Van Combrugge, next week.