August 18 – Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has finally hung up his playing boots to become head coach at Anderlecht.
Last season, Kompany rejoined his old club in Brussels as player-manager, but that unusual role proved to be too much of a burden with the defender later relinquishing his coaching duties. Frank Vercauteren took over and steered the club towards more stability and an 8th-place finish in the league table.
But in the recent pre-season and the first week of the new campaign, tensions between Vercauteren and Kompany, a shareholder at Anderlecht, boiled over. Ultimately, Kompany won the battle in the boardroom and replaced Vercauteren, who in a previous coaching stint at Anderlecht led the club to consecutive titles.
“I want to fully commit to my role as a coach and need 100% of my time and focus for it,” said Kompany. “That’s why I’m quitting as a football player. Our ambition and our hunger remains the same. I want to stay with the club for at least four seasons and prove that Anderlecht can play a modern style of football, with results.”
A year ago, Kompany tried to introduce some of the ideas of Pep Guardiola, his former boss in Manchester, but Anderlecht failed to produce that kind of football and the shine of Kompany’s arrival quickly faded. Controversy reigned over his dual role with some pointing the finger towards the defender’s lack of a coaching qualification.
“As everybody knows, this was always the plan,” said Anderlecht chief executive Karel van Eetvelt. “It might have come a little sooner than expected, but Vincent committing himself for another four seasons to the club is great news for the club, our supporters and our players.”
The Belgian rose through the youth ranks at Anderlecht to win the Belgian championship twice before moving to Hamburg, where German tabloid Bild nicknamed him ‘Glass Man’ for the first time because of injuries. He left the Bundesliga for Manchester City in the pre-Etihad days and in northern England he abandoned the midfield for central defense. At City, Kompany won the Premier League four times as well as two FA Cups and four League Cups.
With Belgium, Kompany played at the 2014 World Cup before missing out on Euro 2016 due to injury. But the country’s golden generation came good in 2018 when Kompany and the Belgians finished third at the World Cup in Russia.
Kompany signed a four-year deal with Anderlecht and on Sunday he will be tested for a first time as head coach when Mouscron visit the Belgian capital.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1635092414labto1635092414ofdlr1635092414owedi1635092414sni@o1635092414fni1635092414