Ajax will meet VVV-Venlo in the north of Limburg on Sunday. With top scorer Miralem Sulejmani on board, the reigning national champion is looking to post its third competition win. If Sulejmani has anything to say about it, the game against VVV-Venlo will be less nail-biting than it was last season. Back then, Ajax didn’t manage to break through until after the break.
Last Sunday on Studio Sport, Sulejmani was compared to Abe Lenstra. Not because of his football capabilities, but because of his new hair cut. The young Serbian player laughs it off. “People just enjoy comparing people and talking about others. It’s my life and I’m happy with my new hair cut. It’s funny that it’s a topic of conversation for people. But of course I see the comparison with Lenstra as a compliment. He’s a great legend in the Netherlands. Especially in Heerenveen, as a former player with that club, I know all about that.”
Performance wise, Sulejmani is on a roll this season. Ajax’s right winger is fit and ambitious, as he says standing at the edge of the training field. “Both Ajax, and I, personally, had a good start. It’s great to have a steady spot from the beginning this season after a good preparation round. I feel at home and it’s going well. It’s also nice to score three goals in two matches. But that’s all behind us now. I’m aiming to remain on the same good course. Every week, there’s a new game, and a new opportunity to show what you can do.”
The Serbian international has two new teammates joining in on attack. He’s formed an attacking trio with Derk Boerrigter and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson for the last three games. Despite being only 22 years old, he is, thanks to his experience with Ajax, the most experienced man in front. He is thus in a good position to evaluate centre forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson’s first weeks at the attacking forefront. “Kolbeinn is a good centre forward, a real quality player. Although he’s just started, I’ve already seen in the practices and the games that he’s the man we need. Just like many of us, he’s only in his early twenties, so he’ll only get better in the next few years.”
On Saturday, Sulejmani will travel to Limburg to play Sunday’s match against VVV-Venlo. The forward has mainly good memories of matches in De Koel against VVV. He does admit that it sometimes takes a long time before the first goal is scored. Too long, in his opinion. Last season, Ajax didn’t manage to secure the match until after the break, 0-2, on a Sulejmani goal. “That’s why we need to apply as much pressure as we can immediately on VVV this Sunday. We have to show that we’ve come to Venlo to win. If we can start off that way, we should be able to make a difference quickly, preferably in the first half.”
Sulejmani hopes to continue scoring in Venlo. After two rounds of play, he shares the top scorer’s position with Tim Matavz from FC Groningen. He reached his own competition record in 2007-2008 when he scored fifteen times. With Ajax, he reached eight goals twice. He doesn’t have a specific target when it comes to the number of goals he wants to score this season. “I’m not someone who counts his own goals. It’s more important to play well so you can make a difference in matches. And if I am the one who scores, of makes an assist, doesn’t bother me so much. Although of course, everyone wants to score.”