Georges Leekens

Georges Leekens (born 18 May 1949) is a Belgian football manager and former player. During his managerial career, he was in charge of four national teams: the Belgian, Tunisian, Algerian and Hungarian national football teams. He also managed numerous clubs in Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, Tunisia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Georges Leekens
Leekens in 2019
Personal information
Date of birth (1949-05-18) 18 May 1949 (age 72)
Place of birth Meeuwen, Belgium
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
1958–1969 Sporting Houthalen
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1969–1970 Dessel Sport
1970–1972 Crossing Club
1972–1981 Club Brugge
1981–1984 Sint Niklase
National team
1975–1978 Belgium 3 (0)
Teams managed
1984–1987 Cercle Brugge
1987–1988 Anderlecht
1988–1989 Kortrijk
1989–1991 Club Brugge
1991–1992 KV Mechelen
1992–1993 Trabzonspor
1993–1994 Cercle Brugge
1994–1995 Charleroi
1995–1997 Excelsior Mouscron
1997–1999 Belgium
1999–2001 Lokeren
2001–2002 Roda
2003 Algeria
2003–2004 Excelsior Mouscron
2004–2007 Gent
2007–2009 Lokeren
2009 Al Hilal
2009–2010 Kortrijk
2010–2012 Belgium
2012 Club Brugge
2014–2015 Tunisia
2015–2016 Lokeren
2016–2017 Algeria
2017–2018 Hungary
2018 Étoile du Sahel
2019 Tractor
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing career

Leekens made his debut as a footballer in 1967 with Sporting Houthalen after leaving the lower ranks of the club. In 1969, he signed for one year with KFC Dessel Sport. After a brief stint at Crossing Club, he was transferred to Club Brugge. With the team, he reached the final of the UEFA Champions League in 1978 against Liverpool in Wembley Stadium in London where they were defeated with a single goal. He also won five Belgian leagues, a Belgian Cup and a Belgian Super Cup in 1980, one year before joining the Sint-Niklase in which he retired from football in 1984.

Coaching career


The same year of his retirement, Cercle Brugge signed him as coach for the next three seasons, eventually winning the Belgian Cup a year later. The same title won with RSC Anderlecht three years after winning it with the Cercle Brugge. After training KV Kortrijk, he came to Club Brugge to win the Belgian League, the Belgian Super Cup in 1990, the Belgian Cup and again the Belgian Super Cup in 1991. He also trained the KV Mechelen, Trabzonspor. Back to the Cercle Brugge and Royal Charleroi before signing for the RE Mouscron, who was promoted to the Belgian First Division after finishing first in the Belgian Second Division.

First spell in Belgium

In his first spell as coach of the Belgium national team he led it to the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals after a two-legged win against the Republic of Ireland in the qualifying play-off. He was sacked from his role as federal coach after a disappointing third place in the World Cup group stage failed to qualify Belgium for the second round after drawing with Netherlands, Mexico and South Korea.


After making a brief pass as coach of KSC Lokern and Roda JC, he was announced as coach of Algeria at the end of 2002, which he qualified for the 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia, but reached an agreement with the Federation to rescind the contract for family reasons.

Back to Belgium and a short experience in the Persian Gulf

After his African stage, he returned to the Royal Excelsior Mouscron, then he signed for KAA Gent for three years and again he would take the bench of KSC Lokeren. In 2009, it was announced that he would be the new coach of Al-Hilal FC but he was sacked after three months after being defeated against Al-Shabab 3–0 so he coached KV Kortrijk again for one season.

Second spell in Belgium

On 11 May 2010, Leekens signed a contract until 2012 to take over the Belgium national team for the second time.[1] As a consequence he had to resign from his coaching role at K.V. Kortrijk.

On 12 April 2011, it was announced that Leekens's contract had been extended to 2014 after some promising results in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.[2]

On 13 May 2012, it was announced that Leekens would coach Club Brugge for a second time,[3] but he was fired a few months later after a series of successive defeats.[4]


On 27 March 2014, Leekens signed a two-year contract with the Tunisian Football Federation to coach the Carthage Eagles. For his first tournament with Tunisia, Georges Leekens managed to take the team to the quarterfinals, his team being eliminated 2–1 by Equatorial Guinea, the host country of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. On 27 June 2015, the Tunisian federation announced having terminated its contract amicably.

Return to Algeria

In 2016, he coached the Algerian national football team, and he made the team to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. On 24 January 2017, he resigned being a coach after being eliminated in Group B stage.[5]

In February 2017 he was one of a number of managers on the shortlist for the vacant Rwanda national team manager role.[6]


In October 2017 it was announced, that Leekens would coach the Hungary national team. After three losses and one draw in four matches, he was fired in June 2018.

Experience in African and Asian clubs

He was appointed by Tunisian club Étoile du Sahel as coach on 10 October 2018 after failing in the 2018 CAF Champions League to be his first experience with African clubs after a long period in European clubs and a short experience in Asian clubs with Al Hilal. He managed to qualify the team to the quarter-finals of the Arab Championship with African champions Wydad Casablanca before leaving on 26 November for unconvincing results in the Tunisian League.[7]

After less than two months in January 2019, Leekens contracted with Tractor of Iran, but his coaching period did not last long, as the contract was rescinded in May 2019.

In May 2020, nearly a year after his last coaching experience, Leekens announced his retirement, to devote himself to his own affairs.

Personal life

Georges Leekens is the cousin of Louis Leekens, who was Belgian National Champion of gymnastics in 1966 and is leading the top sports school for gymnastics in Genk.

Managerial statistics

Managerial record

As of 16 May 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
KSC Lokeren 1999 2001 98 43 28 27 043.88
Roda JC 2001 2002 36 14 7 15 038.89
 Algeria 2002 2003 6 2 1 3 033.33
RE Mouscron 2003 2004 34 15 14 5 044.12
Gent 2004 2007 105 55 20 30 052.38
KSC Lokeren 2007 30 March 2009 68 22 27 19 032.35
Al-Hilal 1 April 2009 3 May 2009 5 4 0 1 080.00
KV Kortrijk 28 May 2009 11 May 2010 44 29 12 3 065.91
 Belgium 11 May 2010 13 May 2012 19 8 7 4 042.11
Club Brugge 13 May 2012 4 November 2012 22 10 5 7 045.45
 Tunisia 27 March 2014 26 June 2015 19 7 8 4 036.84
KSC Lokeren 25 October 2015 26 October 2016 38 12 11 15 031.58
Algeria 27 October 2016 24 January 2017 6 2 2 2 033.33
 Hungary 30 October 2017 18 June 2018 4 0 1 3 000.00
Étoile du Sahel 10 October 2018 26 November 2018 7 3 4 0 042.86
Tractor 13 January 2019 24 May 2019 15 7 5 3 046.67
Total 526 233 152 141 044.30


As player

Club Brugge[8]

As manager

Club Brugge

Cercle Brugge[16]