After the departure of Daniel Munoz to Crystal Palace, the pressure rests on the shoulders of young right back Zakaria El Ouahdi. In theory, the Moroccan is seen as Munoz’s ideal successor, but after a strong start he suffered a sharp setback.
To address this uncertainty, Genk this week signed Ken Nkuba from Sporting Charleroi for a fee of 3.75 million euros.
Vacancy at right back at KRC Genk
No one at KRC Genk was surprised that Daniel Munoz has made his dream transfer to the Premier League; in the sporting field he had already reached his limits in Belgium for some time.
But the way he forced this move to Crystal Palace has left a bitter taste in the mouth for some. Wouter Vrancken was extremely happy for Munoz that he realized his dream transfer, but he did lose a “super important” player, both on and off the field.
With only Zakaria El Ouahdi left in the selection, the pressure of succession now rested on the shoulders of the young Moroccan promise. In theory, he was considered Munoz’s ideal successor.
Vincent Euvrard: “He is a Munoz type”
Zakaria El Ouahdi arrived at KRC Genk last summer on the recommendation of Wouter Vrancken. The coach discovered El Ouahdi’s talent and qualities during Genk’s opening match against RWDM in the Jupiler Pro League.
Despite his club’s 0-4 defeat, El Ouahdi managed to impress as one of the few bright spots in that match. El Ouahdi has the capacity to cover the entire flank single-handedly.
He has excellent running and scoring ability, can both attack and defend, is agile, mobile, fast and has a strong technique.
“He is a Munoz type,” said Vincent Euvrard, El Ouahdi’s former coach at RWDM. The Importance of Limburg. “He has everything to make it at the top as a right back.”
De Condé: He is everything we look for in a modern full-back”
“Zakaria is everything we are looking for in a modern full-back,” Dimitri de Condé said on the club website. “He really comes into his own in our attacking style of play.”
Zakaria El Ouahdi certainly has the right profile for Genk on paper, and this transfer also received the approval of Johan Boskamp. “I have seen that new right back El Ouahdi play many times. Nice footballer,” said the Dutchman The Importance of Limburg.
“He was played as a right back at RWDM this season, but he should be higher on the field. A boy who suits Genk football.”
“Sometimes he looked like a clone of Daniel Munoz”
Zakaria El Ouahdi made one of the best debuts ever at the club in the match against AA Gent.
“Sometimes he seemed like a clone of the indispensable Daniel Munoz, Bilal El Khannouss’ buddy radiated so much energy, dueling power, overview and attacking spirit,” wrote The newspapaer.
However, the Moroccan wing defender then suffered a setback due to limited playing opportunities and varying performances. El Ouahdi had to show himself in substitute appearances, but he was no longer able to have the same impact as in his first games.
He even regularly dropped out of coach Wouter Vrancken’s match selection.
El Ouahdi (again) does not seize his chance
In the derby against Sint-Truiden he was given a full opportunity to prove himself as a logical replacement for Daniel Munoz, but the Moroccan clearly did not have an easy afternoon.
In the next match against Oud-Heverlee Leuven, he got off very poorly in a phase that resulted in the penalty kick. “El Ouahdi made a mistake positionally,” he said The newspapaer.
The defender should have felt addressed after Vrancken’s tirade due to the defeat in Leuven. “Too many players lack the fire and passion to win a match,” the coach was sharp for his team.
“You cannot win matches in this competition purely on quality. And that quality is not always there.”
Genk does not trust the matter: Nkuba is a formidable competitor
Although Zakaria El Ouahdi intrinsically has all the necessary qualities, both technically and mentally, to break through at Genk, his performance was disappointing after a strong start.
This created doubt as to whether Genk could fully rely on El Ouahdi as a starting player after the departure of Daniel Munoz. To address this uncertainty, Genk this week signed Ken Nkuba from Sporting Charleroi for a fee of 3.75 million euros.
Although Nkuba is not yet at top level after a serious meniscus injury, he was known as one of the best right backs in the Jupiler Pro League last season. Once Nkuba reaches his original level again, he will undoubtedly be a formidable competitor for El Ouahdi.