Isn’t the ultimate reward for performance on the field, but a return for dirty money? In Bannu, Dejan Velikovic reveals a fascinating story about former national team coach George Leekens. The former successful coach would have made Derek Chimanga debut as a red devil to pay off outstanding debts.
Flashback to August 10, 2011.
In the charming town of Celje, the Red Devils play a friendly match against Slovenia. There was no applause in the stands when George Likens allowed Derek Chimanga to make his national team debut four minutes from time.
The national coach had brought the left-back, whom he still knew from Lokeren, to the Devils after some disqualifications. However, Tshimanga had just finished a disappointing playoff at the East Flemish Club.
He appears to be a footnote in the history of the Red Devils.
That would be one hat out of four minutes forever for Chimanga.
A rare photo of Tshimanga working for the Red Devils.
200,000 euros in black money
Dejan Veljkovic’s discoveries at Pano ten years later shed an entirely different light on the seemingly insignificant moment.
The former broker says Tshimanga’s debut in 2011 was a “creative” way for Leekens to bring back Lokeren boss Roger Lambrecht.
A year earlier, Leekens left Daknam a few weeks after arriving to become the Red Devils national coach.
Lambrecht then phoned Velikovic saying, “I have a problem. Can you come over sometime?” Lambrecht Leekens paid a €200,000 black advance, and Leekens didn’t want that money back.
Likens said: “I will delight Lambrecht in a different way, by calling up a player from Lucerne in the national team.
Instead of paying the money, Velikovich said, Likens wanted to “please his former boss in a different way.” As coach of the Red Devils, he was “calling a player from Lokeren in the national team”.
This will increase the value of that player, after which Lokeren can resell it for a profit. “Then Lambrecht will quickly forget about €200,000,” said Leekens.
Enter Derek Chimanga, who made his debut in the relevant match against Slovenia and has already made a big transfer.
After some kind comments in the newspaper, Lokeren managed to sell Tshimanga a few months later to KRC Genk for €2-2.5 million, according to Velikovic. So Georg was satisfied, because he never paid Lambrecht. Lambrecht was happy to sell his player.”
George Likens does not want to respond.
George Leekens shakes hands with Lokeren President Roger Lambrecht
Watch the clip from Pano
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