September 28, 2013

Suffer from soccer

This is the Ajax logo - the new one - created in Rhino, mainly using the pipe command. Ajax has started the 2013 - 2014 in a horrendous way. The transfers of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderwereld were in no way compensated. The technical management failed to anticipate their departure that has been a foreseeable event the entire preceding year. 

In addition they sent away a potentially great Nigerian talent - Moses Daddy Ajala - who scored twice in two test matches while being unfamiliar with the culture, Ajax playing style, language and fellow team mates, allegedly because a talent that Ajax had educated themselves was developing well. So far this so called talent has not shown to be nearly as gifted as Moses Daddy, lacking both his skill and personality that Moses Daddy briefly but convincingly displayed.

An other huge Dutch talent - Adam Maher - was arrogantly ignored after Ajax had initially and halfheartedly shown some vague interest. Maher, as a result of Ajax' faltering conduct, was transferred to the competition (PSV Eindhoven) and will undoubtedly perform excellent there in time.

When the close of the transfer period loomed, Ajax unsuccessfully tried (in a panicky way that they tried to conceal by pretending to be calm and in control) to buy an adequate winger, that their revered youth education department has not been capable of producing for a long, long time. Now the center striker - Sigthórsson - gets no useful crosses while being hopelessly out of shape after mostly having been injured for the past two years.

As a result the team has been playing a harrowing type of football traumatic to watch. Often Ajax have (close to) 70% possession of the ball, 80% of which takes place on their own half, which is a comforting fact to most opponents that have nothing to fear whatsoever from Ajax attacking play.

To make things worse, passing over 5 or 10 meter seems to be a problem for almost all Ajax players. Most passes are in the direction of their own goal, sideways at best and behind the running man far too often. The team lacks creativity, lacks courage that results in predictable passing, lacks skill to circulate the ball at acceptable pace and spirit in personal battles. An absolute torment to watch.

The papers and internet news sites say players are given personal training to improve their talents while reducing their weaker points. Ex-players who have impressive records in the recent past train the players of the first team on specific skills needed by goal keepers, defenders, midfield players and attackers. I regret to say that I haven't seen any result from this approach so far; players must be slow in picking up the hints or simply lack the talent and skill to benefit from this type of training.

I think I'll focus on MotoGP this year in order to remain healthy. I will just skip the soccer and perhaps take a cautious peek again somewhere next year to see if there have been any positive changes. I've been an Ajax fan since the 60's of the previous century, but current developments in the club just annoy and agonize me.

Update September 28 2013: Ajax beat Go Ahead Eagles at home with 6 - 0 after a goalless first half that in which the team still struggled and was unable to put the opponent under pressure. Go Ahead Eagles promoted to the Eredivisie last season. Tuesday an encounter with AC Milan in the Champion's League is scheduled; an adversary of a different class.

Update October 1 2013: After a boring game in which neither Ajax nor AC Milan took any chance, Ajax scored in the dying seconds of the game, but allowed Milan to draw anyway in stoppage time. This type of drama always seems to overcome Ajax in competitions more advanced than the Dutch national. Incredible.