KAS Eupen youth players Marciano Aziz and Simon Libert represented the Belgium U17 team in the International Development Cup in Minsk. National coach Thierry Siquet used both KAS players in the four tournament matches against Finland, host Belarus, Lithuania and Slovakia. With wins over Finland (4-0) and Lithuania (1-0) and a narrow defeat to Belarus (0-1), Belgium finished as runner-up in its group and entered the round to decide 4th to 6th place. Despite an even first half, Belgium lost 0-5 to Slovakia and ended the tournament ranked 6th out of 12 countries.
The two KAS Eupen youth players were able to make quite a statement in their Red Devil colours at the tournament in Minsk. 16-year-old Marciano Aziz, who has evolved as an attacking midfielder for KAS Eupen this season first in the U19 team under coach Pino Palmisano before changing in December to the U21 team of coach Angel Cortes, had one assist in the 4-0 win over Finland and was the scorer in Belgium’s 1-0 victory against Lithuania. During the tournament, central defender Simon Libert from Michel Grandjean’s U17 team was even called up for duty to the next U17 national team training session. From 10th to 17th February, Simon Libert will travel to Spain, where Belgium will play 2 test matches against the U17 teams from Spain and France in order to try and qualify for the 2018 European Championship.
The selection of both U17 players to the Development Cup squad was received with delight and pride at KAS Eupen. Angel Cortes, sports director for the U17 to U21 teams, said: “For the second time in a row, two players in the Belgian team at this tournament are representing KAS Eupen. For one of the smaller clubs in Belgium’s elite level, this is a great honour and is evidence of the good, consistent work done by our youth academy. Hence, I would like to extend my congratulations and my thanks to all coaches, also those of the younger age groups. Of course, these nominations also serve as extra motivation for all players of our youth academy to emulate the young national players from the ranks of KAS Eupen.”