On April 25, exactly ten years ago, the Blue Cats Ebers won the national title in the Women’s Division I Basketball Association. Three days later, the Belgium Cup was also added. Former coach Philip Moustadagh and star Emma Messman look back at what they call one of the highlights of their careers.
April 25, 2012: Blue Cats Ypres and Kangaroos Boom look each other in the eyes for the third time in ten days. The Ypres ladies won the first head-to-head encounter, and Boom won the second. The third game at the Boom gym should ensure that the decision is made.
Ypres wins 61-66 and writes history. Three days later, he also won the Belgium Cup in the same gym, defeating Sint-Katelijne-Waver in the final.
“It’s been ten years, but it seems like it was yesterday,” Emma Messman laughs when we asked her what she remembers about those matches. “Although the details in my head may be different from what it is with Philip. I can still see that room in a bum before me: very small and cramped. Perhaps even against safety regulations.”
“The firefighters had to step in and shut his doors,” says Philip Mustadagh. “this is us plow When so many people descend from Ypres to Boom… I still think it’s pretty cool. Two full buses and then a lot of people in the car. In the stands was also a blue and white guard. That was great for me and those young women. This was the first time we had experienced something like this.”
“People are still talking to me about it even now. I was there in the bumThat’s what I was told,” Emma adds.
What do you remember about the party after that?
whatever† “After the match, we traveled by bus via Ypres, but no one was here.” (He laughs)
Philip† “Of course it was also Wednesday evening. After that title we kept it very sober, because after three days we also had to play the cup final. We had a drink with the board, but I think I was in bed around 1.30 am. The next day I had to I go back to school to teach. Saturday evening, after winning the cup, we shared a little more with all the fans in the sports hall at Ypres. The light really started when we got home.”
whatever† “Ah, there was another party.”
Philip† “With BBQ. You even danced on the tables there.”
whatever† (Believes) “Well, maybe you were just sitting there too.”
Have you been in frequent contact with the players since then?
whatever† “It’s not that we consciously look out for each other all the time, but I grew up with a good portion of them. A while ago I went to eat something with An Plasman and to keep myself in shape, I’ve been training with Kortrijk Spurs in recent weeks, where the Devliegher sisters also play.”
Philip† “Whenever you come across someone from that team, it’s always a warm reunion. We had a great time together and then those memories come back quickly of course. There are still some girls playing in Ypres and Sian and Eva Defleger will also be back next season. And Pascal Maes, my assistant, will be the head coach. for the next season.”
The respect at Ypres was enormous. They even started selling pancakes so we could play basketball
whatever: “We have already told each other that we are going to end our career at Ypres. It seems that some are actually intending. Do I want that too? You don’t know what the future will bring. Hopefully the club can start the puzzle so it can grow again to the highest level on the the long term “.
Has the club then lost the momentum needed to grow into a big stable club in Belgium?
Philip† “We had quite a few resources. For Emma, it was the moment to take the next step in the sport, some girls could earn a little bit more somewhere else… If we had a little more budget we might have kept some, but the money wasn’t t there. Blue Cats Ypres nevertheless was a magnet for young girls who came from far away to play with us.”
Where do you place this title among all the other awards you’ve won since then?
whatever† “The trophies you win for the first time are the best. Whether it’s with the Blue Cats Ypres or with Washington in the WNBA, it makes a special feeling. Anyway, this title with the Ypres at the top. I’m proud of the Ypreslinge and I’m so proud that I was able to be Part of Ypres’ sports history.
Philip: “I was a three-time champion with three different clubs: Ypres, Castors Braine and Namur. But the title with Ypres was by far the nicer. Our ladies club was really hype at Ypres at the time. Camps were organized every holiday and this is the place in which the foundation was laid. Not only by me, but also by many other good coaches. A lot of people made an effort for us. They would sell pies so that we could play basketball, because there were no big sponsors. It was respect from all The sides are phenomenal. After the match we ate sandwiches with chocolate in the dressing room. These players still appreciate it.”
whatever† “This cafeteria atmosphere…that’s rare in the world of sports. Fans everywhere have followed us. So far, with Belgian cats. This bond is unique. If there was anything I could do for them in return, I certainly wouldn’t.” Because I know the opposite is also true.”
For you, this was also the start of your international career.
Philip† “Of course I did not imagine at the time that I would be a national coach for the World Cup, the European Championships and even the Olympic Games. I thought it was very special to be the national coach for kittens.”
whatever: “That first experience abroad was especially special for me. I was in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, barely thirty minutes from home, but I called my parents every day crying. I hate the changes and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the level. I started That confidence only grows after the first training matches.”
Philip: “Emma’s parents have always had an excellent career plan for her. Choosing Villeneuve-d’Ascq at the time, it wasn’t a culture shock. If she had played in Salamanca for example, she might have struggled there.”
Because of the war in Ukraine, you will be without a European club at the moment. Where is your future, Emma?
whatever: “It’s impossible to say. A lot depends on how the situation develops. First, I’m focused on a busy summer with the WNBA and in September the World Cup will follow in Australia. Why did I choose Chicago? I hate change, but I knew I had to take that step. Hopefully That would be the right choice.”
Philip: “In a profession you simply have to choose. It’s good to indicate that you want to get out of your comfort zone. And when I look at the essence of Chicago… (beats) This is so worth it! “
The World Cup in Australia will be the first without Philip as national coach. Do you feel a new wind?
whatever: “There are some new players and a new coach, but the basics have remained more or less the same. What we started with Philip in the past has not changed. The professionalism and the structure are still there.”
Philip: “I’m still a big fan of the players and some people in the sports apparatus as well. But a few of some people from above. But of course I hope it goes well and I have complete confidence in that. They will set them up without Julie. (everyone, editor) And Emma has to finish and that’s not bad. This way, other players will have to take their responsibility and grow.”
whatever: “We’ve lost a lot of experience with Ann Wauters, Marjorie Carpréaux and Kim Mestdagh. In a way it is a fresh start. It’s hard to appreciate our position with this team.”
Finally, have you ever worked together again?
whatever: “Never find anything difficult. I certainly wouldn’t say no. There is a clear connection between us.”
Philip: “But of course we’re in a different world now. I don’t see Emma coming to Kortrijk Spears right away.”
Perhaps you will soon end your career at Ypres?
whatever: “That’s still a long time, you know.” (He laughs)
How did the other heroes perform?
In addition to Emma Meeseman, twelve other girls were part of the Blue Cats Ypres Championship team. How has their career evolved since then and what are they doing now?
Championship team captain. After that, he played three more seasons with Kangaeroes Boom and one year with Waregem. After giving birth to her first child, she resumed another year in the Blue Cats. He is currently working as an HR Manager at a recruitment firm in Roeselare. The mother of the cats (4) and Lars (2).
A loyal soldier Ypres. She played with Gentson except for three seasons, always with Ypres. At the end of this season, she will end her career once and for all, because she can no longer be combined with the supermarket and bakery she runs with her father and brother. Mama Nonoo (4) and Peppa (2).
She played five seasons with Waregem after Ypres, after which she became a professional for a year at Castors Braine. After that I played with Deerlijk and now Kortrijk Spurs. He will return to his Ypres roots next season. Together with her sister Eva, she has been running a market physiotherapy clinic in De Bain since October last year.
He was the only alien in the Blue Cats at the time. After passing at Ypres, she played with Luxembourgish Sparta Bertrang, Kangaroos Baume and DS Waregem. He stopped basketball in 2016 and returned to the United States. She lives with her partner Joe and children Malcolm (4 years) and Nina (2) in New Orleans.
After the double, she stayed at Ypres for another year, after which she returned to her roots in Gentson. Stop basketball in 2019 to discover new challenges and dreams. He is now married and has discovered Padel.
Along with Stephanie Norman the aging blanket for Team Champions. He missed most of the tournament year due to a cruciate ligament injury. She ended her active career a year later, after which she worked as a coach at Avanti Brugge for two years. He works as a teacher of mathematics and physics at the VTI Institute in Denzie. Mama Lindy (4) and Kobe (2).
She became a mother during title season, forcing her to live mostly on the sidelines. Meanwhile, he stopped playing basketball for two years, but started training several times at Ypres this season. He works in education and youth coach for KFC Poperinge football club. Mama Van Mel (10) and Julia (7).
Sister-in-law of Yasmina Roussell. She then returned to Laarne via Sparta Laarne, Waregem and Deerlijk, with whom she still plays in the Top Division. He works at Ontex and lives in Sint-Amandsberg.
She debuted at the highest level in the title season. After the club was relegated, he moved to Waregem for one year, but soon returned to his roots. He still plays today at the current SKT Ypres. She is currently working as a General Practitioner in Training.
Sen’s younger sister. After the doubles, he stayed with Ypres for a while and then played with Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Ostend-Bredene, Waregem, Deerlijk and Kortrijk Spurs. He will return to Ypres next season, but will be out of action until the new year due to a cruciate ligament injury. He practices physical therapy at De Panne with Sister Sien.
Brugse who made the transition from DB Brugge to Blue Cats as a young player. After the doubling, he stayed at Ypres for a while, but then went to Wargem. I finally got to Aalst via Deerlijk and Kortrijk Spurs, with whom she still plays in the first national. He works as a primary teacher.
Margo de Corte
One of the juniors in the championship team. She replaced Ypres with Wevelgem after a year of the duo. He moved to Ostend-Bredene in 2019, but returned to Wevelgem a year later.