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GROUND // Daknam - Sporting Lokeren

The teams in the Belgian first division almost all have their unique stadiums. We already checked out the wonderful stadium of KV Mechelen and the very nice stadium of Sporting Charleroi. But in the province of East Flanders there is also a very nice one. KSC Lokeren is the occupant of the Daknam stadium.

This stadium is actually located in the small village Daknam, which is a part of the city of Lokeren. Hence also the name of the stadium of course. Daknam was built in 1956 and underwent renovations in 1974, 1997, from 2000 to 2003, 2010, 2011 and 2013. And it shows. There a lot of influences dated out of different periods to be seen. One of the most beautiful and almost unique ones is the terracing, which is a pure beauty to the eye. In the first decades the stadium was only used by atheltics teams, amateur football teams and organizers of dog races. It lasted until 1970 before KSC Lokeren moved to the stadium. Currently the capacity is 12,000, but in 1974 the stadium was completely sold out for a game against the great Barcelona with 18,000 visitors. In 1986 the stadium was partly demolished by a storm passing by the region.

KSC Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen is actually the result of numerous teams merging together in different periods. Officially the team was founded in 1923 as Racing Club Lokeren, Unofficially Football Club Racing Club Lokeren was founded in 1915, but had to file for bankruptcy in 1923. A new team bought the debts of the team (61,60 Belgian franks - about € 1,50) and started over again as Racing Club Lokeren. The team went from the lowest regions to third division by the end of the 30s and even second division after WWII. In 1945 they changed their name into Racing Athletiek En Football Club Lokeren.

By 1951 they received the royal title, changed their name into Koninklijke Racing Club Lokeren, but also relegated back to the regional leagues. In 1964 they even were punished for fraude during a game against KMSK Deinze and they had to go to the second regional level. Standaard FC Lokeren (founded in 1931) also played in the regional leagues and in 1970 the final decision came to join forces, merge and become KSC Lokeren. All went uphill again. They promoted to first division in no time, even reached the European leagues and won from Barcelona at home in front of 18,000 fans 2-1. This was the start of the successful 80s, but in the 90s they the success was over. In 1998 KSC Lokeren decided to support K Sint-Niklase Sportkring Excelsior, the latter becoming a satellite club. This was a merged team on itself already between Sint-Niklase SK (also very successfull in the 80s) and Excelsior AC Sint-Niklaas. In 2000 they even decided to merge and become K Sporting Lokeren Sint-Niklaas Waasland. In 2003 the successes started coming back and the name was changed into KSC Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen. Up until now they had very good results in the Belgian first division.

In 2015 KSC Lokeren was shocked by the sudden death of Gregory Mertens, 24 years old. He was a rising star in the Lokeren team. During a game of the B team against KRC Genk he collapsed and died of a heart failure. The scarfs and flowers in the pictures are in memoriam of Gregory.


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