Sunday, May 03, 2009

The right to be Dutch, even if you are not.

This year my son's team is getting back to the fundamentals. I have been lucky enough to be introduced to one player's uncle who used to play for Ajax. His first move was to get the kids to go round cones to the right taking the ball with the outside of their right boot, and then to the left with the outside of their left boot. Then he introduced the '2,4,3' skill. You only have to see it once. The 'Cruyff turn'. Within one game it has lifted their performance.

Another impact on their game came from me. 'Go wide. No wider. Drop back. Go wider. Don't go through the middle.' We got to 8 before we ran out of petrol. And let three in. The wide play is Dutch ... before that it was Stanley Matthews.

In the distant past... I remember playing on open space at the back before primary school and calling my team 'Ajax Amsterdam'. It was little more than a name, but these new ideas about 'total football' were inspiring and exciting. Not that I understood them nor knew more names than Cruyff.

Now FFA is banking on the generation after Cruyff for its coaching staff. It isn't that clear why they initially made this choice. Other than things went so well with Guus that following his recommendations seemed like a good idea.

Now the Dutch idea is pervasive across the A-League. While some of the Dutch traces have been bled out of the Roar, the Orange will remain. And Frank Farina has proven to be both a quick learner and under rated as a coach, implementing both wide wing play and appointing Sergio van Dijk in the middle.

Now Perth Glory has also hitched its future to Dutchness. They have released 10 of their 2008/9 23 player squad. This has included Armaral (who I thought looked great when fit), the notorious Trinidad, the regularly injured Foxe, the exciting Nick Risso (to CCM), and James Robinson (ex Melbourne and now headed for Fury).

In heading Dutch former FFA coach Mitchell has retained Vitor Sikora and are now said to be chasing Marc Overmars. A 36 year old, former Dutch international, Overmars is known as 'the Roadrunner'. He had 5 years with Ajak, 3 years with Arsenal, and 4 with Barcelona before his career was ended by injury. Scored 76 goals 1992 to 2004 in 332 games. OK. Then he didn't play for 4 years. In the last year he has played 21 games in the Dutch second division without scoring (at Sikora's club). Hmm.

And on Fox Sports, at last some sense from our Dutch coach, Jan Versleijen, of the U19 team. Only go overseas if a quality foreign team comes looking for you. Otherwise stay with the A-League and its youth teams. Don't let agents hock you around Asia or Europe - or guess what - even if you get a contract the club will not be loyal to you. You will be fodder they can park for a year or so, or let get injured and ignor.

Not sure how coach Pim's comments about the A-League help anyone. Other than Pim of course - if the A-League based team loses, well he is already on the record saying they are no good.

So there you are. We are Dutch. Even if we are not. Or was that Italian? But that may be another story.

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