Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeFootballBold choice: Pocognoli succeeds Blessin at Union Saint-Gilloise

Bold choice: Pocognoli succeeds Blessin at Union Saint-Gilloise

Union Saint-Gilloise presented Alexander Blessin’s successor on Sunday: The choice of Sebastien Pocognoli, an ex-professional also known from the Bundesliga, certainly shows courage

The developments this summer were certainly not foreseeable, even for those responsible at Union Saint-Gilloise. Because Fabian Hürzeler had decided to give in to his Premier League dream at Brighton & Hove Albion despite his previous commitment to St. Pauli, the promoted Bundesliga club was looking for a new coach. And found one in Saint-Gilles of all places.

Alexander Blessin, who had long worked in the youth department at RB Leipzig and then ended up at the Belgian top club via Oostende and CFC Genoa, left for Hamburg after less than twelve months. Born in Stuttgart, he left Saint-Gilles as Belgian runners-up and reigning cup winners

Contract until 2026 – environment well known

After Blessin’s departure, the club, which is only partially suited to the modern fairytale story, made a bold choice: As the club announced on Sunday afternoon, Sebastien Pocognoli will take over Blessin’s legacy. The 36-year-old has signed a two-year contract until June 30, 2026.

The name Pocognoli should make many a Bundesliga fan prick up their ears. The former Belgian professional played for Hannover 96 from January 2013 to summer 2014 and made a total of 30 Bundesliga appearances for the club from Lower Saxony, as well as three in the DFB Cup.

Pocognoli ended his career at Saint-Gilles on June 30, 2021. The 13-time international remained loyal to soccer and only changed sides. On July 1, 2021, Pocognoli took over as coach of the U21s of Union Saint-Gilloise before coaching the U18s of KRC Genk in the 2022/23 season. In the Youth League, Pocognoli led Genk to the round of 16, where Atletico Madrid were one size too big (1:4).

Last Belgian U-18 national coach

Last August, Pocognoli finally became the Belgian U-18 national team coach. After less than twelve months in office, he now takes up his first position in the adult game – and then directly with the Belgian runners-up.

The fact that he knows the club inside out could certainly be an advantage. And that from both sides. From Monday, Pocognoli will be preparing for the new season with his new team at a training camp in the Netherlands. There is not much time to prepare: on July 27, in less than three weeks, Saint-Gilles will kick off their league campaign at newly promoted Dender.



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