The players of Young Oranje look to their eyes during the trip in Bolivia and Paraguay. In addition to the statues of Lionel Messi and Pele, at the museum of the South American football federation Conmebol, they will feel as far away from the poverty they have seen.
Teun Koopmeiners, Rick van Drongelen, Justin Bijlow, Sam Lammers, Arnaut Groeneveld and Pablo Rosario (v.l.n.r.) have fun in Paraguay
“It is, however, a culture shock,” says AZ-midfielder Teun Koopmeiners from the Paraguayan Asuncion.
The hotel where the youth internationals from coach Art Langeler and his successor Erwin of Tanning are staying, is right next to the headquarters of the football federation. With fields as biljartlakens. That is in stark contrast to the earlier encounter with Bolivia, which on Saturday by charter plane was continued our flight to Paraguay. “I was very curious what I would encounter,” says Koopmeiners. “You see poverty, which in Europe you hardly encounter. You realize how good we have it.”
Poverty or not, the voetbalbeleving at the Bolivian population is intense. Where a day earlier in a natural park of the monkeys and parrots to the ears were flung and flew, there were players after the end of the practice duel with Bolivia (1-4 win) tangle hysterical people around to hang out.
The spelersbusjes are invariably escorted by the police. In the busy streets of earlier Santa Cruz de la Sierra (1.5 million inhabitants) and now Asuncion (over half a million) fighting each verkeersdeelnemer with South American temperament to be your own priority. Players are between the poverty as a precaution, also not with expensive watches or headphones outside the hotel walls.
The talents to do great user reviews, such as the visit to the presidential home of Paraguay yesterday afternoon, but the KNVB wants, they mostly get used to other, heavier circumstances in which performance should be. “We had a jet lag of six hours (after a travel of 13.5 hours of flight time, red.). Here we are with the doctors as well as possible dealt with, by at certain times to sleep,” says Koopmeiners, who slept in the plane and on day one directly a full day of training for the choose got. “I must say that we quite quickly adjusted. The field in Bolivia was very dry but very playable. And otherwise, you need with our qualities still win.”
Koopmeiners appears to already be a quick learner. Of the Tanning (he starts officially on 1 June), the group with which he was in september’s crucial european CHAMPIONSHIP qualifiers play against England (from) and Scotland (home) both on and off the field directly excellent to know. Tonight awaits a final duel with the peers of Paraguay (23: 00 Dutch time).