The UEFA Europa League meeting between Club Brugge KV and NK Maribor is perhaps unlikely to command a chapter for itself in the history of continental competition, but for Tom Høgli it could prove unforgettable.
The Norwegian international is set to start Thursday's Group H match despite the imminent birth of his first child, already two days past its due date. "He will not be in the team hotel on Wednesday night so he can remain with his wife," Brugge coach Adrie Koster explained, "but he will play – he says he wants to."
Høgli confirms the somewhat divided loyalties, but hopes to enjoy the best of both worlds. "Sure, I'm really looking forward to becoming a father for the first time and like every man (sic) I would like to attend the birth," said the 27-year-old, who arrived from Trømso IL this summer. "But at the same time a Europa League match is really special, too.
I feel confident that my child will have the decency to wait until the end of the match."
If wife June cannot hold on, even for the initial 45 minutes, then Koster admits he will leave the decision of whether he wants to be in hospital or at the Jan Breydelstadion in Høgli's hands. "[If it happens after kick-off] I will inform him at half-time and then he can decide for himself," he said. The fans will surely pardon him if he goes; June may not be so forgiving if he stays.
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