Nico-Jan Hoogma got it totally wrong when he appointed Frank de Boer as the Netherlands head coach and now the KNVB director is under the spotlight again as he looks for a new Oranje boss. Who will the KNVB turn to with crucial World Cup qualifiers only a few months away?

  • By Michael Bell
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Appointing De Boer as the successor to Ronald Koeman was a massive mistake and that was obvious as soon as the appointment was confirmed. At least it was obvious to everyone, but the KNVB. Nine months later, the Dutch football federation are unsurprisingly looking for a new head coach after De Boer resigned following the Euro exit to the Czech Republic.

The man whose decision it was to appoint De Boer, Nico-Jan Hoogma spoke with NOS after the news broke on Tuesday and he refused to call his decision a mistake. He also failed to resign and will now be tasked with finding a suitable replacement. Can he redeem himself?

Hoogma confirmed that a foreign appointment was under consideration and seemed to rule out the obvious and easy candidates Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Phillip Cocu by stating, “Ronald Koeman had a kind of aura about him: he really was the chief, the boss. That has worked very well and put us all on a certain path. I’m thinking in that direction, that’s the feeling I have.”

So what are the options for Hoogma?

As usual, Henk ten Cate name has been put forward and this time in a trio with Ruud Gullit and Marcel Keizer. Louis van Gaal is also there once again, but after failing to contact the 69-year-old after Koeman left, the KNVB’s phone call may be met with deaf ears. In terms of Dutch names Henk Fraser, Erwin van de Looi, and Frank Rijkaard are all put forward, but Erik ten Hag and Peter Bosz are off-limits and unrealistic.

With Dutch coaches far and few between, though, it may now be time for the KNVB to turn to a foreign coach, who could bring some fresh ideas. Arsene Wenger was put forward before De Boer was announced, but the Frenchman dismissed the links. Could the former Arsenal coach think differently this time?

Netherlands legend Willem van Hanegem has suggested a call for Zinedine Zidane, while Antonio Conte, Lucian Favre, Rudi Garcia and even outgoing Germany boss Joachim Low have been mentioned. It seems there is a real openness for the KNVB to appoint a non-Dutchman, with Rafael van der Vaart also putting forward current Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand.

The choice is a tough one for Hoogma and the KNVB and there is no room for error with the World Cup qualifiers coming in September. The debut for the new head coach will be a tricky away tie against Norway, which could be make or break for the hopes of the Dutch making Qatar.

The pressure is big and it is a decision that Hoogma cannot afford to get wrong. The nation awaits to see who will be the man to guide Oranje.

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