Former Belgian international Lei Clijsters passed away on Sunday at the age of 52, following a year-long battle with lung cancer.
Clijsters, also known as the father of former tennis star Kim Clijsters, announced to be suffering from the illness one year ago and resigned from his position as coach of third division side KSK Tongeren.
As player, Clijsters represented Club Brugge, Patro Eisden, Tongeren, Thor Waterschei, KV Mechelen and RFC de Liege before retiring in 1993. With Mechelen, the defender won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988 and the Belgian league in 1989, as team captain.
In 1988, Clijsters also won the Belgian Golden Shoe as most valuable player in the country’s top flight.
Clijsters also made 40 appearances with the Belgian national team, and formed part of the squads that went to the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. In total he scored three goals for the Red Devils.
As coach, Clijsters managed Patro Eisden, AA Gent, Lommel SK, KV Mechelen en Diest before taking a break to assist his daughter Kim in the world of tennis. When she retired in 2007, Lei returned to football to manage Tongeren for about six months.
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