The debut of the new head coach of Ajax was a success

One of the giants of Dutch football continues to shake. Ajax, for the second year in a row, is haunted, if not by scandals, then by leapfrog with coaches and the loss of leading players.

The dark streak began last February, when the club’s CEO, the legendary Edwin van der Sar, after ten years of working together, had to fire the no less legendary football player and – in combination – a friend, Mark Overmars, who worked more than successfully as sports director. And despite the fact that, according to one of the owners of Ajax, Overmars was the best football director in the history of the club, they could not forgive him for participating in the harassment scandal. Mark took this dismissal hard – in December, the 49-year-old ex-midfielder suffered a minor stroke and is still in the hospital.

And this summer, “God’s sons” had to go through another breakup – after five years of work, head coach Eric ten Hag announced that he was leaving the team, explaining his decision by fatigue and disappointment from the club. His post was taken by Alfred Schreuder, a former assistant to ten Hag, who also managed to work as an assistant to Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, ​​and in January 2022 – to lead Club Brugge and lead him to the championship. Under the leadership of Schreuder, Ajax started the season strongly: 29 points in 11 Eredivisie rounds. However, something broke in November: 6 draws and 1 defeat in 7 rounds in a row. It didn’t work in the Champions League either. The club went to the Europa League, where in February they will meet with the Berlin “Union”. The last straw was a home draw with Volendam, a team from 16th place in the Dutch championship. Ajax’s unbeaten streak in the Eredivisie reached seven matches – the last time the club showed such an anti-record back in 1965.

In general, it was impossible to do without the dismissal of Alfred Schreuder:

– We had a good start in the new season, but then the team began to lose points, and our results could hardly be called stable. We thought that the pause for the World Cup would help us pull ourselves together, but we did not see an improvement in the situation, – Edwin van der Sar explained the decision of the club.

Now the main Dutch talent forge, where Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Frank de Boer and Edgar Davids have honed their skills over the years, will have to pull themselves by the hair in order to minimize the points gap with the Eredivisie leader Feyenoord. Without thinking twice, the Ajax management decided to entrust this mission to one of their pupils and honored players in the past, a veteran of the national team, John Heitinga, who has been coaching the Ajax youth team since 2017. While the defender is not given big promises: Heitinga took over the team so far only until the end of the season. But, judging by the way he confidently led Ajax to the game with Excelsior, defeating the opponent with a score of 4: 1, the team has a very good chance of regaining its leadership positions and saving the season.

It’s funny that with the appointment of John Heiting as head coach of the first team, Ajax again formed the well-known trio of the Dutch national team players in the past – Edwin van der Sar, Claes-Jan Huntelar (he entered the club’s management this spring) and Heitinga. True, the last time when these players together defended the colors of the national team, the Oranje managed to fly in from the Russian team with a score of 1:3. Let’s hope that this time the interaction of legendary football players will lead to more positive results.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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