One of the social highlights of any Belgian professional football club is the gala event for awarding the Golden Shoe. For the first time ever, this year’s event was celebrated publicly, watched by 4500 spectators and fans. Many special guests – not just from the football world – were there in Hall 12 of the Brussels Heysel Complex, giving the event that extra touch. KAS Eupen was there as well, represented by its players Mbaye Leye, Siebe Blondelle and Hendrik Van Crombrugge, head coach Claude Makelele and his T2 Manel Exposito, directors Christoph Henkel and Thomas Herbert and team manager Michael Radermacher.
Henry Onyekuru – Young Player of the Year
The KAS Eupen delegation was delighted to hear the announcement that Henry Onyekuru had been named Young Player of the Year. Currently receiving medical care in England, Henry Onyekuru was unable to personally attend the gala, instead sending a video message to the audience in the hall and to TV viewers. The Nigerian national team player used the occasion to thank the Aspire Academy, KAS Eupen and RSC Anderlecht for the good training received there, helping him to become a successful football professional. Henry Onyekuru played the first half of 2017 for KAS Eupen, before transferring to the English 1st Division club FC Everton and being loaned to RSC Anderlecht. As Young Player of the Year, he succeeds Leon Bailey who is now scoring goals for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga.
Further KAS Eupen players nominated
The winner of the coveted Golden Shoe was Ruud Vormer from Club Bruges, the first time a Dutch footballer playing in Belgian has won the trophy. In the overall ranking, Henry Onyekuru achieved 10th place. Luis Garcia, Moussa Diallo and Hendrik Van Crombrugge were three further KAS players gaining points from the panel, thereby putting them among the 50 nominations. With regard to the Goalkeeper of the Year award, Hendrik Van Crombrugge achieved an excellent 7th place. The Golden Shoe in this category went to Lovre Kalinic from KAA Ghent.