For two of KAS Eupen’s U17 players, the dream of every football player came true when they took part in the 8-nation tournament in Minsk. Pierre Weijnjes and Antonio Rallegri wore Belgian shirts for the first time in the Development Cup. 16-year-old centre-back Pierre Weijnjes (with shirt number 13) played in the matches against Moldavia, Armenia and Lithuania, while striker Antonio Rallegri (number 22) was fielded against Moldavia, Russia, Armenia and Lithuania, scoring a total of three goals. The two 16-year-olds are now back in Eupen, training with the U17 team coached by Michel Grandjean. The two were very happy with their trip to Belarus.
Antonio Rallegri: “Three goals playing for Belgium, that was quite something”
“It was a great experience for both of us, to be selected for the Belgian U17 team and then to play in several matches”, said Antonio Rallegri. “I am proud to have played for Belgium. I consider these selections as a reward for all the work and effort put into training here at KAS Eupen. And I’m very pleased with my performance. Even as a striker, it’s not a matter of course that you score three goals in such a tournament. That really was quite something.”
Pierre Weijnjes: “Hope to be selected again”
Looking back at his first international matches, Pierre Weijnjes was also very positive: “Apart from a small mistake in the first match, I played well as a defender in the Development Cup in Minsk. In the final game, I even managed a decisive pass. These internationals have shown that we are well prepared here at KAS Eupen for such a task. It was an important experience for both of us. I think that we’ve learnt a bit more about tactics – something that the KAS Eupen U17 team can benefit from.”
Camp in Marbella and European Championship qualification?
After this successful first appearance, both Pierre Weijnjes and Antonio Rallegri are naturally hoping that they will be selected again to play for Belgium. The next time the Belgian U17 team comes together is a training camp in Marbella in preparation for the European Championship qualifying round. The two Eupen players hope they will be again selected. “We’ll do everything to get selected again. But it won’t be easy, as the FA is currently working with two U17 teams. These are to be blended into one team for the European Championship. We’re up against a lot of competition, but we hope that we’ll get our next chance”, said Pierre Weijnjes.