The Ajax selection has travelled 6800 kilometres away from Amsterdam, landing in Jakarta on Friday. The capital of Indonesia, which counts 23 million inhabitants, is where Frank de Boer’s Ajax players will close their championship year with a week of training.
Selamat menikmati penerbangang anda was the welcoming greeting received by the passengers of flight GIA 89 on Thursday on the mini televisions of the Airbus A330-200. Enjoy your flight was added as an English translation. Despite the long trip, the two-part flight (stopover in Abu Dhabi) went smoothly. The short periods of turbulence somewhat disturbed the tranquility of the seventeen-hour trip at times.
The trip that started out on Thursday at 14:24 (when the flight was air-bound) ended one day later at 6:50 local time at Jakarta International Airport Soekarno. Indonesia has a five hour time difference with the Netherlands. At the Amsterdam airport, the Ajax players met with the winners of Garuda Indonesia straight after checking in. The airline, which carried the Ajax selection later that day to Indonesia, rewarded its winners with a meet & greet with the players and trainers.
Almost a day later, Ajax was welcomed warmly at Airport Soekarno. The former Dutch colony is a football crazy nation. In Jakarta, Ajax fans appeared to welcome the Amsterdam team with songs and banners. The Ajax players from Amsterdam must have felt confused when exiting the airport, wondering if they were back in the ArenA. The ‘We are Ajax Amsterdam’ resounded from everywhere.
The 17 man Ajax selection (Bojan didn’t make the trip at the last minute; the loaned out FC Barcelona player and Ajax will end their partnership) can look forward to a full agenda in the upcoming days. Ajax will practice on Sunday in Jakarta against Persija. Three days later, Persib Bandung will be their sparring partner.
The agenda is loaded with trainings, press meeting, clinics and sponsorship activities. Friday is typical of the busy schedule awaiting the national champion. Three hours after arrival, they will have their first practice. At nightfall (six o’clock local time) Siem de Jong, Frank de Boer and Edwin van der Sar will hold a press conference. After that, the first day will end with a reception at the Dutch embassy in Jakarta. The Ajax Indonesia Tour 2014 is, therefore, a busy and interesting end to the year in which the club won its 33rd national title.