We all got smacked in the head by reality this summer. Was our team really this bad? Are our players over the hill? What are we to do, without Kuyt, Mathijsen and Van Persie? Ok, not Van Persie…but still… Is there more talent on its way?
I am starting this new series, and I’m asking Alex and others to keep an eye out for more talent.
This series starts with the Under 16s.
Ruud Dokter has been a youth coach and coordinator at the KNVB for years. All very respectable and decent. Since a year, Dokter is being assisted by a real football lad. Kees van Wonderen. Former international and one of the last European cup winners ( 2002, with Van Marwijk and Feyenoord). And Kees, was also one of the youngsters handpicked by legend Wiel Coerver when he was little (Kees) and coached according to the Coerver principles.
The former Feyenoord libero was also youth coach at FC Twente, but will soon resume his career elsewhere. Who knows, Louis van Gaal might pick him as one of the assistants.
“I will also support the Under18s. I’m really keen to do this. Working with the best prospects of the nation is a privileged job.”
Last year Autumn, the under16s played the fournations tournament in France. The youngster won their first game against Peru. Dokter: “These guys can all play. They are all developed at bigger clubs and they work with good coaches and with good material. Their inconsistency is their biggest weakness.”
Kees van Wonderen
Holland dominated the game but lacked the bite in the final third. “This is typical. We play really well, but in the final pass we make the wrong choice. But, I am not dissatisfied. We are working hard on our organisation and defensive foundations and we did really well at that level.”
Vitesse player Issa Kalon scored Hollands only goals.
The next game was against the USA and Holland lost that game surprisingly. “Some weird decisions by the referee. We got 1-0 up but when a USA forward made a foul against our defender, the ref saw it differently and awarded them a penalty.”
Team USA scored the 1-2 after the break and Holland couldn’t fight itself back into the game. “This is a disappointment. We didn’t have the physical strength to fight back and force something.”
Holland lost the third game against France as well. But Dokter was not too sad about it all. “These are great experiences for the lads. We needed to see where we stand. Well, we know. We gave away far too many chances. We need to defend as a team. In the offensive play, we did ok but we weren’t killers enough in converting our chances. We need to work as a team. Against France and the USA, we were immediately beaten when we lost that team feeling. Great lessons.”
This year, the Under16s played the fournations tournament in Portugal and started strong with a 2-0 win over Portgual. Holland dominated the game, played attractive football and deserved the win. Stokkers and Idrissi scored for Holland. Ruud Dokter: “We had two goals when we traveled to Portugal. We wanted to perform. The lads want to win this one. And the second goal is to play like a team. We practices a lot of tactics and in particular our turnarounds. We worked very hard.”
The practice made perfect indeed. Compared to last year, the Under16s played forward pressure and chased the opponent all over the pitch. Still, Holland gave opportunities away too.
Captain Tristan Berghuis (PSV) and right winger Idrissi got more opportunities to score but they lacked the killer instinct.
In the second game, against Israel, Holland couldn’t score. Israel played highly negative and defensively and Holland wasn’t able to break that down. Oranje was too predictable. Dokter: “This is a disappointment, but a good lesson for the boys. Israel didn’t come to play. And the lads will have to face opponents like this more in their careers. So it’s good to have this disappointment.”
That disappointment was carried into the last game against Italy. Holland needed a draw to win the tournament but despite having heaps of opportunities, Holland lost 2-1. As Cruyff said: Italy can’t win against you, but you can lose against Italy. Italy got two chances ( a corner and a counter) and scored twice. Holland dominated again, but couldn’t convert.
Ruud Dokter: “We are making great progress. In last year’s tournament we were too naive. Now, we could have won it. We were unlucky but we worked like horses. I’m proud of the guys.”
At the Under16s, Feyenoord/Excelsior’s joint development system is the main supplier, with Oussama Idrissi, Ali Ulusoy, Robbert de Vos, Caner Yalamoglu and goalie Tim van der Linden.
Hector Hevel (ADO Den Haag), Daimy Rijnsburger (Almere City), Joël Donald and Dabney dos Santos (AZ), Randy Ababio en Sofyan Amrabat (FC Utrecht), Cihat Celik and Koen Muller (NEC / FC Oss), Chima Bosman, Bob Groenendijk and Stijn Lamers (all PSV), Oussama Idrissi, Ali Ulusoy, Robbert de Vos, Caner Yalamoglu en Tim van der Linden (all RJO Feyenoord/Excelsior), Rewan Amin, Max de Boom and Rannick Schoop (all RJO Heerenveen/Emmen), Philippe van Arnhem, Justin Mathieu, Michiel Rusch en Ralph Vos (all RJO Willem II/RKC), Roland Baas (foto) en Willem Gootjes (RVO FC Groningen/Cambuur), Suently Alberto and Finn Stokkers (Stichting Sparta Rotterdam), Tristan Berghuis (then Vitesse/AGOVV, now PSV), Vincent Schmidt (Voetbalacademie FC Twente), Jeroen Houwen (VVV-Venlo/Helmond Sport).
Jordy Bruijn, James Efmorfides, Indy Groothuizen, Terry Lartey Sanniez (all Ajax), Thomas Ouwejan (AZ), Bart Ramselaar (FC Utrecht), Ryan Hiwat (PSV), Bart Nieuwkoop (RJO Feyenoord/Excelsior).
Kees van Wonderen: “The football academies all across are doing really well. All players are able to play the game we Dutch love to play. We have wingers, like Iddrissi, we have strikers, good smart midfielders and I’m also impressed with our defenders. Both in terms of their capabilities to actually defend and with their abilities to build up and play football. I won’t name names now, it’s too early to put all those expectations on their shoulders but there is no reason why Holland shouldn’t play a big part in international football in the next 10 to 15 years….”