Ajax has one of the finest youth training programmes in the world, and would like to spread this expertise as widely as possible. Working trips such as these are an excellent opportunity for the Amsterdam club to share its philosophy.
2022 World Cup
Just like Ajax, the South Korean Football Association is very ambitious too. The KFA is also looking to relive its success in the 2002 World Cup. That World Cup, which was held in Japan and South Korea, sensationally saw the South Koreans reach the semi-finals under the leadership of Guus Hiddink, coach for the Dutch national team. South Korea is also arranging a host of activities to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of those successful championship finals.
Three inspiring events
The KFA organized three events to which Ajax was invited. Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar spoke about the Ajax-philosophy at the football conference. Knowledge about youth development was shared at the course for technical directors, which was attended by technical directors and head coaches of the Korean football league. The South Korean Football Association was able to use these meetings to hone its own vision for the future. The KFA is also looking to upskill the directors of football and the trainers even further. Furthermore, Van der Sar received a special gift from the KFA, during a seminar where all the CEOs of the K-League were present.
The KFA and Ajax have similar plans for the future. For instance, both organisations are working on projects centred around building new accommodation. Another shared ambition is to get even more out of coach training. Both Ajax and the KFA have similar visions in that regard, which makes sharing ideas and insights even more worthwhile.
The Ajax delegation were there to watch the international friendly between South Korea and Brazil on Thursday. The fixture at the Seoul World Cup Stadium ended up in a 5-1 victory for the South Americans. Before the match, Van der Sar spoke with Hiddink and Ji-Sung Park, formerly a player with the South Korean national team. The atmosphere among the capacity crowd at the stadium was great right from the kick-off. "It was great seeing how the crowd responded to Brazil as well as to their home team," said Van der Sar.
Finally, Van der Sar met Chung Mong-gyu, the KFA chairman. Together they attended the match between South Korea U15 and the South Korea 2002 legends.