De Boer: “U-19 triumph proves that the system is working”
06 Jan 2015, General
Doha, 6 January 2015. With Ajax Amsterdam, the most successful club in the history of Dutch football is currently training at Aspire Academy to prepare for the second half of the season in the “Eredivisie”. For the head coach and former Dutch international Frank de Boer it is also a return, since he played in the “Qatar Stars League” at the end of his playing career.
“Since then I’ve been following the development of football in Qatar. I read a lot on the internet and my brother, who stayed here five years longer than me, also told me about it. When I came back to Doha for this training camp I also noticed that the face of Doha has changed over the years and on the way from the airport to the hotel I noticed a great number of new buildings”, said the former player of Al Rayyan (2004/05) and Al-Shamal (2005/06) after Tuesday’s training session at the Academy.
He also followed the triumph of the Qatari U-19 national team at the AFC Championship in Myanmar in 2014. “I am very happy for Qatar and Aspire Academy, because they put a lot of effort in the development of their young players and in the end you also need results. Winning the Asian championship proved that the system works and that they qualified for the U-20 World Cup is fantastic for the country and Aspire.”
Working with young players has always been the focus of his club Ajax, whose academy has produced a big number of great players as De Boer himself, who successfully went through their youth system. “It’s our lifeline, because we cannot compete with the clubs from the big leagues in terms of money. That’s why Ajax Amsterdam has always stressed the importance of developing young players. Of course, as a young player you have to give a lot to reach the top and some fall behind, while others understand what it’s about.”
A philosophy that has always had his full support. “I have a red and white heart and the way we practice football gives me as a coach the chance to work with young players, see them grow and develop as individual players and as a team. The best players might later be sold to big clubs in Europe and will then be replaced by other young players. But sometimes you have to make two steps back to make one forward.”