Turkey Diary (6): Hennie’s expertise

Turkey Diary (6): Hennie’s expertise

Hennie Spijkerman returned to Ajax two weeks ago after his adventure at sister club Ajax Cape Town in South Africa. With Frank de Boer’s appointment as Ajax’s new head coach two weeks ago, Spijkerman joined the technical staff at the start of January. “We’ve known each other for a long time”, says Spijkerman about his fellow coach de Boer, after the morning training session.

“Frank did an internship with the first team while he was taking the Professional Football Coach course”, said Spijkerman, standing at the field’s side line. “We spoke extensively about football during that period. At the time he took responsibility for A1, I went to watch regularly.”

He’s been Ajax 1’s assistant coach as of two weeks. “The art of it is to find each other within a short period of time”, says Spijkmerman. “That’s true for me, but it’s also true for Danny and Frank. We discuss the things that we want to do during the trainings. I’m trying to bring in my experience. That way, we reach a compromise.”

Under former Ajax coach Henk ten Cate, Spijkerman was also assistant coach of the first team in 2006. He’s spent the last six months as technical director at Ajax Cape Town. “I was there for exactly a half year”, he says. “It was important for me to return to the training field. Things went well with Foppe (de Haan). The entire situation, for example the climate and living conditions, were also excellent.”

Now, the experienced coach is back with Ajax. “There’s a lot of hard work going on here”, says Spijkerman after the practice session. “Qualitatively speaking, it’s at a very high level. You see the style of playing coming back in the trainings.” The Ajax players have made a good impression on the coach. “It’s a young and relatively inexperienced group, but they have a tremendous drive. That’s good to see. It’s a group that’s open for coaching, and that wants to improve.”