Kenneth Vermeer kept his last game of the championship season last Friday evening. Ajax’s keeper, and the Suriprofs, beat FC Groningen, 3-0. Clarence Seedorf (36) was the main attraction in Sparta Rotterdam’s stadium. Scoring two goals, the former Ajax player had a large part in the practice win.
“Hey, not again!” booms through the Kasteel after Clarence Seedorf’s first foul. The Surinamese commentator is enthusiastic and comments on opportunities, fouls and injuries with jokes and joviality. This sets the tone and atmosphere for this evening match between the Suriprofs and FC Groningen. This practice match, in its lightest form, brought attention to a good cause, and of course featured Clarence Seedorf.
The 87 time international and four time Champions League winner was the main attraction at the annual game for good causes in Surinam. His presence drew the press towards the Surinamese celebration at Sparta. As both teams posed for the photographs before kick-off, the photographers clustered around Seedorf’s team. FC Groningen’s team posed as well, but not a single photographer honoured the team, which includes former Ajax player Hyun Jun Suk, with a photo. The team manager saved Groningen’s honour by taking a picture with his mobile phone.
In addition to keeper Vermeer and former Ajax player Seedorf, several of this year’s Suriprofs players and staff members have an Ajax past. Suriprofs chairman Stanley Menzo, coach for the occasion Dean Gorré, and Milano Kunders, , Darl Douglas, Rydell Poepon and Florian Jozefzoon have all worn the Ajax jersey (as youth players). Vermeer makes his debut tonight with the Suriprofs. “I’ve been a few times, but played my first minutes tonight. And I have to say, I liked it. We had a lot of fun tonight, Surinamese guys together. Except during the match, we were serious then”, says Vermeer, who kept a clean sheet for the 62 minutes he played.
This charity match for Surinam was the Ajax keeper’s last match for the championship year. “My holidays are going to start now. Like almost every year, I’m going to Surinam. I wasn’t born there, but I’ve developed a strong connection with the country because of my parents”, says the Ajax goalie, for whom it was an honour to play with Seedorf. “That was really special. You don’t play in the same team as a great player like him very often. If only for that reason, I would do this evening all over again.”
Man of the match Seedorf, who had a heavy hand in the victory by scoring two goals, has a strong connection to the country in which he was born on April 1, 1976. In addition to his work with several projects, and his own stadium, he’s also helping his native country by joining the Suriprofs. “In the 11 years of the initiative’s existence, I fortunately haven’t been able to participate very often. Most times, I still had European commitments with my team, but not this time”, said that man who is leaving AC Milan after ten seasons. Seedorf is open about where his future will be. “I hope to be able to give more information in seven to ten days. It’s exciting, not difficult, because I fortunately have enough good options to go to.”
Seedorf would like to contribute to Ajax after his playing career ends. “I grew up at Ajax; I made my debut there, and had my first successes there. That will always be special. That’s why the door’s always open for Ajax. If I can contribute to the club in the future, I’d definitely be open to that. But first I want to continue playing for a few more years. I’m the last one from my generation who is still playing, and I want to keep it that way. They all say to me: keep going until you collapse. As long as I feel fit and have passion, I’ll keep playing. I’ll see what comes after that. Do I want to be a coach, like Frank de Boer? Not necessarily, but I’m keeping all options open.”