NEWS: Belgian goalkeeper, 25, passes away having collapsed on pitch after saving penalty
ʙᴇʟɢɪᴀɴ ɢᴏᴀʟᴋᴇᴇᴘᴇʀ, ᴀʀɴᴇ ᴇsᴘᴇᴇʟ, ᴘᴀssᴇs ᴀᴡᴀʏ ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴄᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ ᴏɴ ᴘɪᴛᴄʜ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ sᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴀ ᴘᴇɴᴀʟᴛʏ. ʜᴇ ᴡᴀs 𝟸𝟻 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴏʟᴅ.
ᴀ ʙᴇʟɢɪᴀɴ ɢᴏᴀʟᴋᴇᴇᴘᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ ᴄᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ sʜᴏʀᴛʟʏ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ sᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴀ ᴘᴇɴᴀʟᴛʏ ʜᴀs ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ.
Arne Espeel, 25, was in the starting lineup in Winkel Sport B’s game against Westrozebeke at their home stadium in Sint-Eloois-Winkel.
Winkel Sport were leading 2-1 when the away outfit were given a spot-kick towards the start of the second half.
Espeel is said to have thwarted Mohammed El Baghdadi’s effort but collapsed to the ground shortly after, per Belgian outlet Het Nieuwsblad.
Espeel shouted ‘yes!’ before dropping to the floor.
ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ sᴇʀᴠɪᴄᴇs ʀᴜsʜᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʜɪs ᴀɪᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴅɪᴅ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ʙᴇsᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴀᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴇ 𝟸𝟻-ʏᴇᴀʀ-ᴏʟᴅ. ᴀ ᴅᴇғɪʙʀɪʟʟᴀᴛᴏʀ ᴡᴀs ᴜsᴇᴅ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴛᴏ ɴᴏ ᴀᴠᴀɪʟ. ᴇsᴘᴇᴇʟ ᴡᴀs ᴘʀᴏɴᴏᴜɴᴄᴇᴅ ᴅᴇᴀᴅ sʜᴏʀᴛʟʏ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ᴀʀʀɪᴠɪɴɢ ᴀᴛ ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ.
ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴇsᴘᴇᴇʟ’s ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ ʜᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴀɴɴᴏᴜɴᴄᴇᴅ.
Espeel’s younger brother, Aaron, was on the bench for the game.
ᴀ sᴛᴀᴛᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʟᴜʙ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ʜɪs ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ ʀᴇᴀᴅ, ᴘᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍɪʀʀᴏʀ: ”ᴡɪɴᴋᴇʟ sᴘᴏʀᴛ ɪs ɪɴ ᴠᴇʀʏ ᴅᴇᴇᴘ ᴍᴏᴜʀɴɪɴɢ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ sᴜᴅᴅᴇɴ ᴘᴀssɪɴɢ ᴏғ ɢᴏᴀʟᴋᴇᴇᴘᴇʀ ᴀʀɴᴇ ᴇsᴘᴇᴇʟ. ᴡᴇ ᴡɪsʜ ᴀʀɴᴇ’s ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ ᴀɴᴅ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs ᴏᴜʀ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛғᴇʟᴛ ᴄᴏɴᴅᴏʟᴇɴᴄᴇs ᴀᴛ ᴛʜɪs ʜᴇᴀᴠʏ ʟᴏss. ғᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ ɪs ᴛᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴀ ʙᴀᴄᴋ sᴇᴀᴛ ғᴏʀ sᴏᴍᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇ.’
Winkel Sport B’s assistant Stefaan Dewerchin said: “The ball was still in play. Our goalkeeper got up as fast as possible to receive the ball, but then he fell. It was really terrible to watch.
“ᴡʜᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴄᴀᴍᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴏᴜʀ ɢᴏᴀʟᴋᴇᴇᴘᴇʀ ᴡᴀs ᴅᴇᴀᴅ, ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴀɴ ᴜɴᴜsᴜᴀʟʟʏ ʜᴇᴀᴠʏ ʙʟᴏᴡ. ɪ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ sᴏᴍᴇ ᴘʟᴀʏᴇʀs sᴛɪʟʟ ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ʀᴇᴀʟɪsᴇ ᴇxᴀᴄᴛʟʏ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴᴇᴅ.”
ᴡʜɪʟᴇ sᴘᴏʀᴛs ᴅɪʀᴇᴄᴛᴏʀ ᴘᴀᴛʀɪᴄᴋ ʀᴏᴛsᴀᴇʀᴛ ᴛᴏʟᴅ ʜᴇᴛ ɴɪᴇᴜᴡsʙʟᴀᴅ: “ɪᴛ’s ᴀ ᴛʀᴀɢᴇᴅʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ sʜᴏᴄᴋ ᴛᴏ ᴜs. ᴀʀɴᴇ ʜᴀᴅ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʟᴜʙ ʜɪs ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ ʟɪғᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ ʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴅᴇᴀʀʟʏ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ. ɪᴛ’s ᴀ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ʜᴀʀᴅ ʙʟᴏᴡ.”
Members of the club, fans as well as the player’s family and friends will walk through the streets of Sint-Eloois-Winkel in tribute to Espeel on Monday.
Our thoughts go out to Espeel’s family and friends. Rest in peace, Arne Espeel.