Shocked Belgium. Arne Espeel, goalkeeper for Winkel Sport B in his country’s first amateur league, died last weekend after saving a penalty for promotion. Local authorities have issued a ruling and are investigating the incident to determine the exact cause.
The teams in this group play against SK Westrozebeke on Saturday 11 February. During the match, the 25-year-old footballer collapsed after stopping a shot from 12 paces. The incident caused confusion among those present.
Soon, emergency personnel came forward and tried to revive him. They spent about 30 minutes trying to save the player’s life, but their efforts weren’t enough. According to regional media “VRT Nws”, lifeguards will confirm the athlete’s death.
“The ball was still in play. Our goalkeeper got up as fast as he could to catch it, but then he went down. It was horrible to see,” Stefaan Dewerchin, the team’s technical assistant, said before the aforementioned news agency.
Dewerchin also expressed how hard it was for the team and his teammates to find out about Arne’s departure. He further stated that even many people are still unable to cope with the event because they do not fully understand what happened due to the impact.
“After it happened, all the players were in the dressing room. When the news came that our goalkeeper had died, it was an unusually heavy blow. I think some people still don’t realize what happened,” he said.
As far as the Belgian club is concerned, Winkelsport stated: “Winkelsport deeply regrets the sudden death of goalkeeper Anne Espier. We wish his family and friends their deepest condolences on this great loss. Football is not so important for a while.”
Finally, an autopsy will be performed on Monday to determine Espeel’s cause of death. On that day, the team’s coach and staff will walk through the streets of the small town of Saint-Elois-Winkel to bid him farewell.