No matter how unanimous the players are in their denial, for the coaches of the time, the grapes are sour. Tony van den Bosch, the head coach, can also imagine that there was match fixing, when he thinks back to that strange second half of the season in 2019.
“I feel really screwed,” he says. He was national coach of Belgium, and active as a coach for decades. But a season with such ups and downs he had never seen before. “I put a lot of time into the preparations for those games. I started to doubt myself, but now afterwards I think ‘damn it’, what was I doing behind that line?”
Little brother dead
As if his world collapsed a little bit, the Antwerp basketball coach remembers the moment when researchers from the ISR first informed him about the suspicions of match fixing. “Then you start looking everywhere for causes.” After the suspicious match against Weert, he resigned, partly because he did not believe that he still had control over the team.
Anne van Dijk, his assistant coach, was therefore at the helm of the last games of the season, including the last two suspicious games. Just like Van den Bosch, he is astonished by the suspicions.
“If it is true that matches have been manipulated, then I feel badly fucked,” says Van Dijk. “I have done my best to bring the season to a successful end. If a small club of players is going to ruin it, that would kill me.”