Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, first choice as centre forward for Ajax, is raring to go at the beginning of the new season. The Icelandic will be let loose in the Amsterdam ArenA on Friday against Roda JC.
Since moving from AZ to Ajax in the summer of 2011, he hasn’t yet succeeded in completing an entire season in Amsterdam. In his first year he had problems with his ankle, last year an operation on his shoulder knocked him out for half the season. But now everything has changed, he told us after the last practice session before the Johan Cruijff Plate on Friday. ,,I am fit and sharp”, he says. ,,I got through the summer very well. In May I was extremely upset that the season was over; I had just started to get back into the rhythm. It was a compulsory leave, I suppose, but I did keep up the training during my holiday. During the preparation for the season with Ajax, so far everything has gone exactly as I had hoped.”
Completing an entire season, that is where Sigthórsson’s ambition lies at the moment. He wants to be on that pitch right from the Johan Cruijff Plate, through to the moment the prizes are awarded in the spring of 2014. ,,To remain fit, that is my number one goal this year.” The 23 year-old striker doesn’t have a certain number of goals he’s striving for. ,,If I play many matches and get back into a rhythm, I hope the goals will come naturally this season. That is why focusing on remaining fit is even more important. Of course I want to get better each year. There is always room for improvement somewhere. I work hard on that every day. With Frank de Boer I work on tactics, with Dennis Bergkamp I work on technique.”
Whether or not Ajax will perform just as well the coming season as it has for the past three years, does of course not merely depend on Sigthórsson. It is about the team, and in that respect he is very positive about the near future. ,,As a group we have had an excellent preparation period. We have won a number of games convincingly, which has boosted our confidence. And we haven’t reached our top level yet. We have been in back in training for a month now; I think we will have come even further in a few weeks time. If everybody stays with Ajax, we will have an incredibly strong team. We feel spending the winter in the Champions League simply has to be our objective. In the past years we have been a little unlucky in the draw, but even then we didn’t do too badly. Personally, I’m not that bothered who we play, but it would be nice to start off in a slightly easier group for a change.”
But before the new European football season kicks off, the Johan Cruijff Plate is on the fixtures list. ,,We haven’t managed to win it in recent years, so we are going to give it our all. We don’t want to miss a single prize. Neither does AZ, of course, so it promises to be an interesting match.” Sigthórsson played for AZ before he joined Ajax, so that gives an extra touch to the match. ,,I still know quite a few lads on that team; I’m still in regular contact with them. AZ has acquired a number of new players this season too, so it’s hard to gauge how strong they are and how they will play. We’re putting the pressure on ourselves, though; we are going for a clear win.”
Sigthórsson will be playing with Viktor Fischer to his left and Bojan Krkic to his right in the frontline. The latter player is a new member of the Ajax family. Are the Spaniard and the Icelandic used to each other yet? ,,We have played together for one half of a match so far, so we don’t know each other completely yet. We have to get a feel for each other’s running patterns, have to know when the other person wants the ball. It always takes time, but I have a good feeling about it. Bojan is a player who is sensitive to others. I feel the connection.”