Lierse SK fans protest Stars ace Timbe’s sale to China

Former Lierse SK winger Ayub Timbe applauds fans after a past match. (PHOTO/Lierse SK)
Former Lierse SK winger Ayub Timbe applauds fans after a past match. (PHOTO/Lierse SK)

Belgian side Lierse SK fans outraged by the sale of Harambee Stars winger, Ayub Timbe to a Chinese second tier side staged a protest against the club management later Monday.

The angry fans who hurled unprintables against Lierse Head Coach Eric van Meir and Lierse SK administration questioned the wisdom of the transfer when the team is just about to field in a promotion play-off against KSV Roeselare.

Their scorn was inflamed by the fact that second tier Chinese side Beijing Renhe FC where Timbe has switched is owned by the same entities that control KSV Roeselare.

“Perhaps Roeselare made a choice: final against Lierse so one of their best players has to miss this crucial tie,” a fan wrote on micro-blogging site Facebook.

The fans also took a swipe at Timbe, pointing out a lack of ‘ambition’ from the player who first joined the Lier-based club in 2014 in a loan deal from Belgian Pro League side KRC Genk.

Timbe’s impressive performances and growing influence at the club later earned him a three-year deal in July last year.

“How in God’s name a second division in China ‘opportunity’ for a player? “Lierse shame on you!” a supporter wrote on micro-blogging site Facebook.

“Just again the umpteenth smack in the face of a good supporter. Now I really hope that after Sunday’s play-offs we should create more pressure,” another wrote.

Timbe becomes the second Kenyan to move to the now infamously rich Chinese league, joining striker Michael Olunga who moved to newly promoted top-flight side Guizhou Zhicheng in January.

Lierse made the announcement of Timbe’s sale on Monday evening, saying though they felt the timing of the transfer was not 100 percent okay, they could not turn down the lucrative offer from Renhe.

“Lierse is aware that the timing for an outgoing transfer is not ideal, but the offer from the Chinese club meant a serious added value and is also important for the financial stability of the club. It is also a great opportunity for the player that the club does not want to deprive him.

“Lierse would finally like to stress that this transfer will not detract the sporting ambitions of the club, where the focus is still on the race for possible promotion to Division 1A,” the club said in a statement posted on the official website.

The Chinese transfer window closes on January 28 with the new season expected to kick off on March 11. Masika’s first match with the club will be against Shanghai Shenxin.

Renhe was relegated from the Chinese Super League in 2015 and they finished fourth in last season’s second tier league, missing promotion back to the top.

They finished behind Tianjin Quanjian and Olunga’s new club Guizhou Hengfeng who finished first and second.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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