Johan Walem (49) will take over after this season in the RSC Anderlecht ladies team. The former coach of the Belgian U21 will become coach and sports director. Hermien Vanbeveren closely follows Belgian women’s football. “Anderlecht has ambition with its women’s team and it is good that it also expresses that ambition”, the Sporza journalist explains.
The fact that Johan Walem will once again have a well-known name in the Super League, is publicly a win-win situation for everyone. Not just for Anderlecht, but for women’s football in general.
He is known to the general public as a former player of Anderlecht and the Red Devils and will thus ensure extra attention for the women’s competition.
You noticed that yesterday at the press presentation: there were quite a few media there. Suppose that Anderlecht had chosen the current trainer of Standard, Hamide Lamara, whose name was also circulating, then the
attention has been less.
At the same time, I touched on perhaps the biggest objection with this comparison: Walem admits that the Super League is still unknown to him terrain.
That is of course logical: until last month he was the national coach of Cyprus, before that he trained, among other things, the national U21s and KV Kortrijk. So only men’s teams.
Perhaps this is also a choice for certainty for Walem himself. Few teams from 1A and 1B are waiting for him and he cannot do much wrong with the strong Anderlecht core.
On the other hand, Anderlecht could also have opted for someone who already knows the women’s competition through and through. “His profile fits what we needed,” explained CEO Jos Donvil at the press conference.
But what is that profile? What does Johan Walem stand for? And may he continue to excite top player Tessa Wullaert?
“Not weakened to start next season if they want to realize European ambitions”
The timing for this “gamble” is of course good: Patrick Wachel himself announced that he will stop after this season. Johan Walem can therefore use the play-offs to calmly but thoroughly familiarize himself with women’s football.
Moreover, the atmosphere is good for the defending champion: RSCA Women is racing through the
competition, has not lost a single point, no one doubts that soon one
fourth title in a row follows.
He also knows that Golden Shoe Tine De Caigny will leave after this season. But if you hear where Anderlecht wants to go with the women’s team, they will (have to) ensure that the team does not weaken in 2021-2022 begins.
Especially to realize the European ambitions: Anderlecht lost to Benfica in November and could not qualify for the 1 / 16th Champions League finals. However, that was the ambition. So they don’t want to experience that disappointment twice in Lotto Park.
The timing for this “gamble” is of course good. Johan Walem can use the play-offs to calmly but thoroughly familiarize himself with women’s football.
“Anderlecht is even investigating whether its own stadium is an option”
An important signal is that CEO Jos Donvil, also present at the performance, clearly stated this ambition: “To remain the best in Belgium and to take a step forward in Europe.”
Even more interesting is that Donvil and the club in general look further than just Anderlecht. “Johan’s most important task is to write a plan how he wants to grow women’s football and RSCA in the coming years”, were literally the words of Donvil.
The other clubs must also (be able to) take steps to achieve a better competition. That proves a quick look at the rankings, in which Anderlecht outclassed the rest with 51 out of 51 and almost 100 goals scored in 17 matches.
The Purple & White also expressed their intention to focus more on youth. A must, because there is hardly any own training. The fact that Anderlecht just take their talents away from the competition is often heard criticism.
But in conclusion: the fact that Anderlecht has ambition with women’s football and is also expressing this is a good thing for women’s football in general.
The club would even investigate whether a stadium of its own for the women is an option. Wait and see if that ever comes. Because building in Belgium… And there is also the uncertain financial situation of the Purple & White.
We also have to wait and see how Johan Walem will make his Super League debut next season. He can now start a Super League crash course. Walem might also sit together with Leo Van Der Elst, that other ex-Red Devil in the Super League, the trainer of Club Brugge.