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GROUND // Staf Janssensstadion - KFC De Kempen Tielen-Lichtaart

When you drive around on the countryside, looking for nice floodlights and a great football atmosphere you usually don't have to drive far. When driving through de Kempen in Belgium you can see massive floodlights from miles away, like a lighthouse calling all the shippers. We were attracted to the floodlights of KFC Zwarte Leeuw and had the exact same experience while we were driving towards the neighbouring Tielen for a game of KFC De Kempen.

The Tielen area used to see great football on a very high level, but just like many teams moving up way too quickly they couldn't cope on a financial level. Nowadays KFC De Kempen Tielen-Lichtaart is playing the stadium Staf Janssens. But it used to be KFC Tielen - playing in second national division. KFC De Kempen is a continuation of KVV Lichtaart Sport which was founded in 1946 and played in the regional divisions up until 2005. For one season only they played in fourth division. In 2007 they decided to merge with VC Tielen to become KFC De Kempen Tielen-Lichtaart. Ever since the merger the team managed to play in the national leagues for two seasons (2010 through 2012), but mainly plays in the highest regional leagues the past few years.

VC Tielen was only founded in 1999 and existed for less than 10 years. In those few years they did manage to go from the lowest regional league possible to the highest regional league in 2003. After the merger everything from VC Tielen was put in the history books. This young team was in fact an unofficial continuation of the great KFC Tielen. KFC Tielen was founded in 1934 and is in fact one of the older teams in Belgium with a matricule number of 2216. For almost 60 years the team would stay in the lower regional leagues, but under impulse of Staf Janssens (from neighbouring sponsor IJsboerke) the team suddenly and quickly moved up to second national division. In 1998 they ended in the bottom of second division and IJsboerke was sold to another company. This also meant the sponsoring would stop and the team didn't have any money left to continue their great successes. 1998 was also immediately the year KFC Tielen ended to exist unfortunately.

Former team players of the great KFC Tielen were Piet den Boer (won a European trophy with KV Mechelen before) and a young Jef Delen (king of de Kempen having played at BO Beerzel, KFC Tielen, Verbroedering Geel, KVC Westerlo and one year at KV Mechelen). KFC De Kempen is trying to achieve the same and had the great Francis Severeyns as a player and up until last season Cliff Mardulier played there.

Anecdote: The Red Devils used to use the stadium Staf Janssens as a training accomodation during the 90s.


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