We were without NT football for 10 months! The last time it took this long, was during World War 2!
Oh, before I forget, due to the plethora of football matches in the past weeks and due to a very busy worklife, I was not able to “moderate” the blog as often as needed and this debate ensued re: antisemitism ? Or something racism? I read the posts, and even though Tiju makes my head explode at times, I don’t think there was any racist malice implied and I have emailed the upset poster to share my position with him but I haven’t heard back.
I hope we can put this beside us soon, as it seemed to be a case of misunderstanding.
Interim coach Dwight Lodeweges is thrown in the deep end but the experienced coach doesn’t flinch. He is missing some players at the back, as Dumfries, De Vrij, Blind and De Ligt are all missing ( not a bad back four). Dumfries will become father, De Vrij came into the camp with a slight issue and Blind and Mathijs’ stories are well known.
CB options Nathan Ake and Perr Schuurs
Lodeweges decided not to call on another defender: “We did use Teun Koopmeiners as a fill in at practice, borrowed him from Young Oranje, but no. The guys we have now will have to do it for us. I think we have enough to be ok.” Asked if he was ready to give the debutants (Schuurs, Wijndal) a go: “Oh for sure. They are ready. Otherwise I would have invited them. Wijndal is positive, good left leg, quick, recognises the opportunity. Schuurs is open and like a sponge. Then we have Ihatarren, they’re all good kids. And you want them to play, don’t you. They’re so keen.”
So who is Dwight Lodeweges?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the KNVB will hang on to Dwight in this role, particularly when the two upcoming games go well. The players seem to enjoy his style.
Lodeweges was born in Canada, in Turner Valley. His parents were looking for a brighter future in Canada, post World War 2, but returned to Holland when he was 7 years old. Lodeweges was developed as a talent at Go Ahead Eagles and was a youth international for Holland. When Hans Kraay Sr went to play for Oakland, he jumped to the opportunity. When he arrived in California, it appeared the club didn’t exist anymore and Kraay and Lodeweges went to play for Edmonton Drillers in Canada. This was the start of the life of a football nomad. He played in Northern America and in The Netherlands. As a coach, he also had stints in Canada, in Japan, back in Holland and for Al-Jazira in Abu Dhabi.
Dwight in the middle, for Go Ahead. Left on the photo, Nigel’s dad Jerry de Jong
After a dramatic and painful season at FC Groningen in 2003, where a horde of hooligans jumped him with baseball bats, he decided to only work in pleasant environments. If something didn’t work for him, he’d get up and leave. He left NEC after three months in the job and also closed the door voluntarily at SC Heerenveen. Hans Schrijvers was his assistant coach at FC Groningen, Edmonton and Jeff United in Japan: “He is a pure person. What you see is what you get. If you trick him, or lie to him, he’ll pack his bags. He is totally honest and loyal and the way people treat him and one another is key for him. He has high expectations of himself and the people he works with, as he will give every inch, every drop of sweat he has. When he realises a group isn’t open to his football ideas or philosophy, he’ll end the relationship and moves on. Contracts or money don’t interest him.”
Henk ten Cate is, like Dwight, a kid of Go Ahead Eagles and in the 1960/70s, Go Ahead was the shining light in terms of youth development. The typical Dutch school was perfected there: build up from the back, good positioning play and combinations to create chances. Ten Cate explodes when we call Dwight “a good field trainer”.
“What is that?? People say this of others. I have been told this! And now Alfred Schreuder gets that label too. Because we were once loyal assistant coaches? But a field trainer can not be a good trainer and a bad coach? How does this work? Dwight is a complete coach. He is a great field trainer, but also a solid tactician. Very driven and professional.”
What is his strength? Ten Cate: “What every coach must be able to do, Dwight does really well: he can create practice forms that fully support his football vision. So he tells the players, this is what I want to see, and then he gives them many tools and ideas and practices that will support them in that goal. He is also open with his staff, he wants them to challenge him and create an even better level. Players who play under him usually realise during the game that everything Dwight predicted, is happening. Like Louis van Gaal.”
Dwight at amateur club VVOG. He is happy working at this level, and at Oranje level
Lodeweges works this way at Oranje, but also at Edmonton when there were no balls, no jerseys, no field… “He is a football fanatic. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Dwight talks with Frenkie about football. The level of detail and insights. Must be wonderful. I also think he deserves a job at the highest level,” Ten Cate goes on.
Sef Vergoossen worked with Dwight as assistant at Al-Jazira, Nagoya Grampus8 and PSV Eindhoven. “I am not surprised with Dwight at Oranje. He’s a top professional. He reads games amazingly fast and can tell you within minutes where the problems lie. He can correct this swiftly too and control the game. That note was a typical example.”
It’s November 2018. Holland is trailing 1-2 vs Germany. Koeman gets a note with some line up and system changes. Koeman takes the notes and instructs his captain to make the changes, with 15 minutes to go. Right at the death, Van Dijk scores the 2-2 and Holland reaches the finals! The note is found and auctioned of for 35,000 euros for a good cause. Dwight thinks the humbug of the note is all hogwash. But he smiles when he learns that his note results in a Cruyff Court in South Africa!
Vergoossen: “In the past, players would come to Oranje for a little reunion and R&R. Seeing mates, playing golf and prepping mentally for a match. Under Dwight (and Koeman), it was different. They would come to the training camp and work with laser focus on the specifics needed for that particular opponent. Tactical training sessions, aimed at the little subtle details needed to win a match.”
Van Dijk scoring after some tactical changes by Dwight
Cambuur CFO Gerald van den Belt has seen a different side of Dwight. “He is extremely down-to-Earth and won’t get carried away. I think he is all these things that Ten Cate and Vergoossen and others tell you, but he can also be an absent minded professor. He was successful with Cambuur, and when our big rival Heerenveen offered him a step up to the Eredivisie, he took it. This was so sensitive here, that the club and the fans almost exploded with frustration. He never expected that. He didn’t realise how big his impact was here and how he was loved. He is authentic as a person and has always remained the same Dwight Lodeweges. One has to respect that!
Expect some cool stories soon re: Donny’s Man U move and Nathan’s Man City move. More info on Barca and Frenkie and way more :-).