‘Now is the time to reap’

‘Now is the time to reap’

Faithful to tradition, Frank de Boer held a press conference on Friday afternoon to discuss Ajax’s upcoming match against Willem II. The coach has seen the opponents play good matches away and has warned his team.

Ajax is facing an important period. “In addition to the competition, we have a qualification for the UEFA Europa League and the KNVB Cup match on our agenda. Now we need to reap. I hope that we do, it will be very disappointing otherwise. We play three home games, and we need to win the maximum number of points each time.”

The coach will have to make do without Anwar El Ghazi and Niki Zimling on Saturday evening. Queensy Menig is therefore in the selection and Riechedly Bazoer is standing in for the Dane. “Bazoer has been making a good impression in recent weeks”, De Boer explains his choice for the Ajax Reserves player. “Zimling got injured in the last Ajax Reserves match, with a slight sprain to his thigh. It’s not serious but he’s not fit. El Ghazi is basically fit, but we don’t want to take any risk with him. He’s having problems with a muscle between his hip and groin. It’s a tough spot. He is able to do almost anything, but can’t shoot too much. He could potentially force it on Saturday evening. He is young and still has a lot of football to play. I’m expecting that he’ll train on Sunday and could eventually be available to play in Wednesday’s match against APOEL.”

De Boer has several players available for the centre forward position for the Willem II match. He wouldn’t reveal which player would be in that position: “I watch the trainings and see what my gut says. No, I’m not going to discuss it here. You’ll find out tomorrow.”

The coach is expecting a driven Willem II on Saturday, the eighth-placed team which is doing well for itself: “We can’t make the mistake of thinking that thing will just work out fine. We need to play at a higher pace than them. Willem II has a good team. The Tilburg team has proven that they are good at winning away games. For example, they won at Feyenoord. Most of all, centre forward Armenteros is doing very well.”

At Willem II, loaned out Ajax player Fabian Sporkslede is part of the selection: “But he was watching from the stands last time. It says a lot about Willem II’s selection when he’s not even on the bench, but his development is stagnating and obviously, that’s not what we want”, said De Boer.

Some tickets for Ajax-Willem II are still available. Click to the link below to order tickets.