Didier Lamkel Zé found a creative way to try to get Royal Antwerp, his Belgian soccer club, to approve a transfer for him — he showed up at Antwerp’s training facility earlier this week clad in the purple shirt of league rival Anderlecht.
Not surprisingly, the move wasn’t well received. Royal Antwerp employees refused to let the Cameroonian defender into the building. Lamkel Zé was photographed trying to pull open the front door:
This has got to be the best transfer story of the window so far... 🙈
Royal Antwerp forward Didier Lamkel Zé turned up to training wearing arch-rivals Anderlecht's kit, to try and force a move to Panathinaikos 😬
And of course they didn't let him in... 😆 pic.twitter.com/mtChDKsvdD
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) January 6, 2021
When the images began circulating around the internet, Antwerp fans were incensed. Some even threatened the 24-year-old player’s safety, forcing the police to become involved.
“We take the situation seriously,” said Antwerp police spokesperson Willem Migon, according to Spanish outlet Marca. “It is true that we have detected threats against him after the events of the last few days.”
On Instagram, Lamkel Zé initially doubled down, threatening to next wear the shirt of Antwerp’s most hated rival, Beerschot, unless his move to Greek team Panathinaikos was approved. But perhaps on the advice of authorities, he instead issued an apology that was posted to Royal Antwerp’s official Twitter account.
“I sincerely apologize to the club and the Antwerp supporters because they are magnificent and wonderful fans who have always supported me,” Lamkel Zé said in French. “If I reacted like this it is because my head was somewhere else.
“I really, really want to apologize for this gesture,” he continued. “I am available for the club if the new coach needs me.”
Frank Vercauteren was hired as Royal Antwerp’s new manager on Monday. Panathinaikos is coached by László Bölöni, the former Antwerp boss who brought Lamkel Zé to Belgium from French second division squad Chamois Niortais in 2018.
The winger has scored 11 goals in 69 games across all competitions for Antwerp.
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