Once again, KNVB had to find a new man to be in charge of the Oranje after Frank de Boer resigned from his post after Euro 2020. Fans wanted the likes of Erik ten Hag and Peter Bosz to be considered but instead, they got the recycled names of Dick Advocaat, Louis van Gaal and even the retired Frank Rijkaard. Well, the KNVB didn’t surprise anyone when rumors came out that they plan on hiring van Gaal for the third time. If true, this means that the KNVB continues their myopic approach of not looking at the big picture and just focusing on the now.

  • By Ibrahim Ayyub
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Before we get to the van Gaal hiring, let me do a quick reflection on the Oranje and their disappointing exit from Euro 2020.

I blame Georginio Wijnaldum for being invisible in that loss to the Czech Republic.

I blame Memphis Depay for being so sloppy with his ball control and his passing.

I blame Donyell Malen for missing that golden chance that would have been the opening goal.

I blame Matthijs de Ligt for that boneheaded hand ball play that cost his team dearly.

I blame Frank de Boer for the lineup and clueless substitutions against the Czech Republic.

I blame Jordan Pickford for injuring Virgil van Dijk and costing the Oranje their valuable leader.

I blame the KNVB for hiring Frank de Boer.

I blame Ronald Koeman who left the Oranje to coach Barça. Based on Barça’s disarray, he could have still had a chance to coach the Blaugrana after Euro 2020.

Back on topic, the brief era of Frank de Boer is over and it should never be discussed again. For the third time, van Gaal is allegedly back in charge. Obviously, this hiring was made with the World Cup in mind since it’s around the corner and the Oranje made it all the way to the Semi-Finals in 2014 under van Gaal. However, why do the KNVB continue to recycle previous managers for short term goals and continue to face this situation over and over again?

The Oranje job is a job of short tenure. Four years is the usual life span of a Dutch manager. One has to go back to Bob Glendenning who coached the Oranje for fifteen years, which took place before the second World War. Since then, if one manager made it to four years, he was doing something right. But why is it that the Oranje can’t hang on to their managers? For comparison’s sake. Bobby Robson coached England for eight years. Richard Nielsen coached the Danes for six years and Morten Olsen coached them for 15 years. Joachim Löw just finished a 15-year stint coaching the Germans, although he should have been fired after World Cup 2018. Meanwhile, Óscar Tabarez is still coaching Uruguay and he’s been in charge since 2006. So why can’t the Oranje find their Óscar Tabarez?

I always wondered why the legend, Rinus “The General” Michels did not stay in charge from 1986 until 1994 and then step down for Guus Hiddink. Michels just guided the Oranje to Euro 88 success and then stepped down to manage Bayer Leverkusen, where he didn’t even last a season. Did Michels do it for financial reasons or did he miss coaching at the club level again? Nevertheless, Michels was back coaching the Oranje at Euro 92 before stepping down for the final time. Imagine though if he had remained in charge from 1986 until 1994, especially during the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

It’s no secret that coaching the national team is not in the interest of a young manager. Young managers want to coach at the club level and deem the national team job as something to do towards the end of their coaching career. So, don’t expect the likes of Erik ten Hag and Peter Bosz to take over the Oranje when they are still employed and sought after by clubs, which involves a day to day operation, unlike the national team where the games are scarce and not much happens in between except traveling to fixtures to scout players. It also doesn’t help that it’s never easy managing Dutch players since they tend to be very opinionated, and, as we saw in Euro 96 and Euro 2012, their egos can be divisive to the detriment of the team.

The KNVB’s biggest dilemma is that they lack a long-term vision. There is no structure and it doesn’t help that managers either resign or get fired. Things have to change or else we will continue to witness the ineptness continue to prevail as it has over the years. After World Cup 2022, the Oranje need to find their Oscar Tabarez and allow him to remain in charge for many years. Furthermore, the revamp should also consist of making sure the youth teams also follow the style of the first team. The system and formation should be the same from top to the bottom in the Netherlands setup which would allow the youth players to transition to the first team without any confusion or adjustments.

Yet, in order to achieve this plan, the Oranje need to find someone who is willing to stay in charge for at least eight years. Is Ronald Koeman the one when, and not if, Barcelona fire him? Or perhaps is it time to hire a foreign manager for the first time since the Austrian Ernst Happel coached the Oranje at World Cup 1978? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, and yet, the Oranje have continued to show us just how true that is with their constant coaching musical chairs over the years. Enough is enough and it’s time for KNVB to stop being myopic and use some insight to plan ahead.




Ibrahim Ayyub (21 Posts)