Joey Didulica (34) visited Ajax on Monday. The keeper, who retired last month, is returning to Australia, his birth place, for good next week. Between packing his moving boxes, the former Ajax player visited his former employer.
Daley Blind’s question is answered with thumbs up. Joey Didulica has found Blind senior. Danny Blind is one of the few people with whom Didulica shares Ajax history. Of course he wants to talk to Blind, and Sjaak Swart and André Ooijer. There’s never a lack of old acquaintances at de Toekomst.
Since his departure from Ajax in 2003, much has changed in Didulica’s life, as well as with his former employer. The Croatian Australian returned to the Eredivisie with AZ after three years in Austria with Wien. He sustained a head injury in his first season, and things haven’t really been the same since 2006. And, after fighting his way back, injuries and strides with competing keepers were at play. All of the injuries suffered, which led to a neck hernia, made the AZ keeper finally decide last month to put an end to his active career.
His new life looks promising. In his native Australia, he’ll be keeper coach at Melbourne Heart. The club, established in 2009, plays at the highest level and is led by coach John van ‘Schip. John Didulica, his brother, is technical director. “I really am looking forward to settling down in Australia again. Many challenges await at Melbourne Heart. The club plays somewhat along the lines of the Ajax system. Thanks to my Ajax background, I know what’s expected. I learned so much here between 1999 and 2003. Before leaving, I want to get a few fresh ideas. I won't be coming back that often, maybe just for a holiday.”