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Antwerp Striker Apologizes After Getting Locked Out Of Training For Wearing Rival Jersey In Transfer Ploy

Antwerp's Didier Lamkel Ze pictured during a training session of soccer team Royal Antwerp FC, Friday 31 July 2020 in Brussels, in preparation of tomorrow's final of the 'Croky Cup' Belgian cup against Club Brugge KV.
Bruno Fahy/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images

Soccer players change teams all the time. It takes a special level of creativity, then, to elevate any particular transfer saga to newsworthiness, especially when the clubs involved aren’t among Europe’s elite. Royal Antwerp striker Didier Lamkel Zé did just that on Monday, showing up to training wearing the jersey of his current club’s hated rivals, Anderlecht, in an effort to troll his way into a transfer to Greek side Panathinaikos.

Let’s take a moment and appreciate this photo set. The first image shows a man ready to risk it all for his dream move, moments before thoroughly embarrassing himself. The second one is the moment of said embarrassment, as security guards block him from entering the club’s facilities. That photo also a nice shot of the jersey, a throwback that bears the name of current Everton winger and former Anderlecht loanee Yannick Bolasie. The third photo is the best, though, as it simultaneously embodies the energies of both Eric Andre and Miami Heat fans in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Not content with pissing off his club once, Lamkel Zé later posted to Instagram saying he would wear a different Antwerp rival’s jersey next time. He reversed course eventually, and released an apology on Tuesday via Royal Antwerp’s Twitter account. According to an ESPN translation, Lamkel Zéa asked for the fans’ forgiveness and explained that he had gotten too caught up in the transfer saga: “If I reacted like that, it is because my head was elsewhere with the transfer, it wasn’t easy for me. I’m so sorry for my actions.”

Lamkel Zé added that he would be ready to play for Antwerp if the new coach, Franky Vercauteren, needs him. If Lamkel Zé’s stunt doesn’t wind up securing his move to Panathinaikos, he probably will need some of this same creativity to get back in his new boss’s good graces.