VV Drienerlo on the verge of returning to third division

| Stan Waning

For the first selection of Drienerlo, it has to happen on Saturday: with a win in the play-off final, the team of coach Marnix Smit will return to the third division. Captain and treasurer Pau Ribas is hopeful. 'We're already 1-0 up.'

The student football association had its heyday in the years 2010 to 2015. Drienerlo was a stable third division team in that period and even made  a trip to the second division for two seasons. That has not been the case in recent years. Since 2018, the club plays in the fourth division. In the last two seasons, Drienerlo had the chance to make a step up through the playoffs, but the club did not take advantage of those opportunities.

If it is up to the Catalan midfielder and capitán Pau Ribas, that will change on Saturday. The Industrial Design Engineering student saw the selection end this season in third place in the fourth division D. Drienerlo won the first and second rounds of the play-offs – against Blauw Wit'66 and 't Harde respectively – convincingly.

Preferred artificial grass

But will Smit's team use the match point against competition rival Eerbeekse Boys on Saturday? Ribas: 'In finals, the chance of winning is often fifty-fifty, but I'm hopeful. The squad is in top shape and everyone is motivated to the bone to promote. The final will be played halfway between both clubs, in Borculo. Eerbeekse Boys, a physically strong team, wanted to play on natural grass. As a team that relies on immaculate football, we preferred artificial grass. It's going to be the latter, so we're already 1-0 up', Ribas says jokingly.

The Catalan played for Club Gimnàstic Manresa in his homeland. He competed in youth selections against peers from the great FC Barcelona and Espanyol. When he settled in Enschede three years ago, he immediately registered with Drienerlo. 'The level is lower here, but people underestimate our level and that of the competition. At times we play excellent football.'

Train more often

The fact that Drienerlo played a strong season is due to the good start. 'The new guys were motivated and fanatic from the very first moment. Normally, we drop a lot of points at the beginning of the season, because it always takes us a while to get used to each other.' In recent weeks, the selection does not train twice a week, which is the norm, but Smit receives his seventeen-man selection on the field three times a week. 'So that we are in top shape for this important period. Hopefully that will be the reward on Saturday.'

Regardless of the result, the international selection (Smit has Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Egyptian, Greek, German and Ukrainian players, ed.) will close the season on Saturday with a dinner. But Ribas knows that such an outing is a lot more fun with promotion in the pocket. 'I understood that the opponent (who Drienerlo didn't beat in the league this season, ed.) had already arranged one full bus with supporters. We also hope to bring as many supporters as possible to Borculo. We're going to give it our all together. Hopefully it will be one big party.'

VV Drienerlo – Eerbeekse Boys
Saturday, sports park De Wildbaan, Borculo
Kick-off: 2.30 p.m.

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