“Messi, Neymar and Mbappé are heroes for us”

Four days before they face PSG in the Coupe de France, the president of the small regional club, US Pays de Cassel, describes the incredible enthusiasm of an entire region for this match. Photo: Patrick Patou (left to right: JJ Vaesken, Gabriel Bogart, sporting director and Samuel Goethals, coach)

It’s a story that only the Coupe de France can offer… Thumbnail of the 16 Coupe de France finals, the US Pays de Cassel, a regional level club (6th national rank), will host PSG on Monday evening in Bollaert. But to achieve this, the Flemings, who thought they were qualified on the green carpet (as initially decided by the FFF, after the 8th round match between Reims-Saint-Anne and Wasquehal was stopped due to a fight) first he had to eliminate Wasquehal, club of the National 2, winner of the match finally to be replayed.

Before the exceptional party on January 23rd, the players of US Pays de Cassel therefore had to accomplish the feat of eliminating the northern club, which was leading 1-0 in the 89th minute of the game…

Head of the Vaesken company, which specializes in the agricultural trade (and which works closely with 1,200 farmers), Jean-Jacques Vaesken savors this unique moment in the life of an amateur club. Both the meeting of his players with the PSG stars, as well as the collaboration with RC Lens for the organization of the match.

“This match woke up an entire region”

You came a long way to meet PSG on Monday…

We’ve seen each other play a 16 beforeth of the French Cup final. Later, when we knew it was going to be against PSG, we knew we had to play this 32th in the final it was a real blow to the head…

And the least we can say is that this 32th against Wasquehal, he was tense…

Take a goal at 82th, It’s very difficult. But we managed to equalize in the 90sth minute.

For a penalty worthy of a World Cup final…

Exactly. But we felt that nothing could happen to us. It’s a real dream!

PSG in 16thdid you dream it?

What do you want us to find better? This is happiness! Before the draw, when we thought we had qualified on the green carpet, we talked about it. We thought it would be wonderful. And that’s great, it woke up an entire region.

“We practically filled Bollaert in one day! »

Are you surprised by the enthusiasm around this meeting?

We never imagined it to be like this. We are country people, we have been fighting with the town halls of our towns, with the municipal councilors… to have land, a coherent sports policy… for many years. Seeing what is happening today is extraordinary. Look at the importance of football… We can say we won!

Knowing before the match that the opponent in 16th place would be PSG necessarily changed the stakes…

It is certain that the two teams were motivated. It was a match of passion. I would also like to say that everything went very smoothly. It was a very sporting match, played well by both sides.

On Tuesday, when the ticket office opened, you had sold 30,000 seats, did you expect that?

Frankly no, not at all. We had originally decided to close the upper stands so that the spectators would not disperse. We planned to sell 10,000 tickets on the first day, then another 5,000 or 10,000, to reach a maximum of 20/25,000 seats sold. Today we will go to the end and I think the stadium will be full. Even the Lens club were surprised by this enthusiasm. It should be noted that Racing Club de Lens supports us wonderfully in this adventure, putting at our disposal not only its stadium, but its experience. They are really there to help us and I want to thank them.

PSG are currently in Saudi Arabia on a commercial mini-tour, didn’t you mind having to play on Monday night?

In the beginning, the question of match day could be asked, but not anymore, after the huge success of the ticket office. We practically filled a stadium in one day!

“Messi, Neymar, Mbappé… For us they are heroes. Even if above all we would like Mbappé to be there”

Do you think PSG will come with its stars. That Neymar, Messi and Mbappé will be at the Bollaert on Monday night?

It’s hard to say. I am not convinced. All three, I don’t think so, but it would be nice if there was at least one of the three stars. And we would like Mbappé to be present.

Mbappé more than Messi, who is undoubtedly the best player in history, or Neymar?

They are all three great players. For us they are heroes. Especially Mbappé, because he’s French. It’s a real pleasure to play against them. Even if we will do everything not to take 8 or 10-0.

But, at your club, we support Lens more than PSG in the league…

But I don’t know if there will be many Lensois at the stadium. It is above all a region, Flanders, which is mobilizing behind the club.

Sportingly, what could be the motivations of a small regional team facing one of the biggest clubs in Europe?

First of all, we have to point out that our players did their job by winning against Wasquehal, a National 2. The real result is there. And we haven’t finished talking about this match. Now it’s time to party. Although I know the players won’t have complexes against the Parisians. They will do anything to outdo themselves. We won’t win this game, but they will believe us as much as possible. I trust the coach, who is a young coach with a bright future, who supports a good game. For us, sport is the big winner in this match. For the spirit of amateur football, this is something big.

“We could have played at the Parc, but we preferred to keep the spirit of the Coupe de France”

This match and the way you are preparing, with RC Lens, is a real breath of fresh air, when you see what is happening at the top of the Federation…

It’s a real pleasure to see what’s going on. This enthusiasm, the work of the people at the club, to whom I take my hat off, the role of RC Lens… It’s true that it’s good for amateur football.

Your club is struggling to rise to the 3 * national team do you think this epic and this match against PSG can help it, even just financially?

It is clear that it will help us a lot… But our goal is not there. Our goal is to maintain this atmosphere, this great mood within the club. The group is united, they want to go all the way this season.

You have chosen to play at Lens, which also imposes a lot of responsibilities on you in terms of organization of the match, but you could have also played at Parc…

We could have, that it would have been a big party too, but we wanted to keep the spirit of the Coupe de France. This “epic” spirit that makes you dream.

Today you don’t have to regret it…

You know, we’re Flemings, we’re country people, we didn’t realize the enthusiasm this could arouse. Everyone follows us, it’s really happiness!

* US Pays de Cassel is third, one point behind the leader and with one game left.

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