Ajax is hosting the Chinese national team coach this week. Gao Hongbo is currently in Amsterdam, as Ajax is the Chinese Football Association’s youth development partner. Among other things, a meeting with Martin Jol and the Ajax youth coaches is on the agenda.
A former forward of China’s national football team, Gao Hongbo feels right at home with Ajax. “Ajax is world renowned for its youth training, and also for its forwards and attacking style of football. Everyone knows the club in China”, he said, in the Amsterdam ArenA’s Royal Lodge. As he looks out onto the field, the 44 year old coach of China’s national team talks about his first visit to Ajax. “I’m very impressed by the facilities, as well as the training sessions. It’s a privilege to be here, thanks to the partnership between Ajax and the Chinese federation.”
Besides Amsterdam, his time in the Netherlands this week will also take him to Zeist (KNVB) and Waalwijk, where he will attend RKC-Ajax on Sunday. He hopes to learn many things from Ajax. “The opportunity to meet with Martin Jol and the youth coaches has given me good insight into how Ajax works. I’ll bring this knowledge and experience back with me to China, and pass it on to our other coaches. It’s important that the youth coaches get the right training, so that they can teach the players to be good footballers. This partnership with Ajax is key, both for the development of our coaches, and of our players.”
Part of the development is participation in youth tournaments in Europe. The China U-17 team will be guests at the AEGON Future Cup at the Toekomst Sports Complex in the beginning of April. “It’s great that our national youth team will be playing against teams like Ajax, Bayern München, FC Barcelona en AC Milan. We’re very happy to be invited to a tournament with such strong representation.”
In talking about Ajax and the attacking style of play, the name “Huntelaar” pops out from the steady flow of Chinese words, quickly followed by the names Van Basten and Cruijff. “Ajax has always had many good forwards”, says the man who was China’s champion in 2007 with Changchun Yatai. “That’s one of the reasons that it’s so interesting for me to be here. Especially as a former forward, I’d like to learn the secret. How do you train good forwards? It would be great if I could find the answer during my stay here.”
From Wednesday, March 24, watch more on Ajax TV about the Chinese coach’s visit.