The decision of Holland Football Authorities to relieve national team manager, Danny Blind of his job was taken on the heels of the Orange’s struggle in their qualification group for the FIFA 2018 World Cup to be hosted by Russia. In a group comprising France, Bulgaria, Sweden, Belarus and Luxemburg; the Dutch are in fourth with seven points and five matches played.
Not good by any yardstick for a team that played in the semi-finals of the Grand Stage less than three years ago in Brazil.
What could have happened to Holland to the extent that it is looking unlikely that they will be present in Russia? Unravelling the answer and thereby proffering solutions must have lead the KVNB to intervene by terminating the appointment of Blind.
However, for keen observers, the problem with the Dutch team goes beyond the management. It transcends in to the playing personnel. The core of the team is aged and there is strong need for new players to step into the big shoes of the likes of Robin Van Piersie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Nigel de Jong.
All these players were the reason for the outstanding achievement in Brazil but are all now under the rather except for Robben who is still there among the best. The problem with having only one superstar in the team is that the weight of expectation may be crippling. As we say in our climes. A tree doesn’t make a forest. So it will be very difficult for Robben to solely shoulder the responsibilities of hauling Holland back to the top.
Teams such as Holland needs constant feeding off the energy and pace of young talented players plying their trade at the highest levels. This look to have dropped significantly in the last three years. Those to be termed as the ‘new kids’ on the block are not exactly doing great. Think of Memphis Depay, Jeremy Lens, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Donny Van De Beek; there is much promise but long down the tunnel.
Netherlands can hardly wait!