“When I started in Curaçao, I understood very well that it would be different from the KNVB,” says Langeler. “But I didn’t think it would be so different on an organizational level.”
Fries for lunch, great
As an example, Langeler cites the journey from Honduras to Canada. It started at 2.30 am and lasted 24 hours via two intermediate stops. “It was completely irresponsible with a view to the recovery of the players. In addition, it turned out that a number of players were not allowed to enter Canada because they were not fully vaccinated against corona. And a large part of the selection got stomach flu.”
The fact that Curaçao ‘only’ lost 4-0 to the World Cup-goer was a stroke of luck for the national coach. The turbulent preparation fits in seamlessly with Langeler’s previous experiences on the Caribbean island, where he started work in April. To his surprise, when he first arrived at the airport, no one from the union was there to pick him up. Langeler himself had to make a few calls to arrange transport.
And a decent team discussion with a whiteboard during lunch turned out not to be an option either. The players ate in an all-inclusive hotel al fresco by the pool among the other hotel guests. Sports nutrition was not on the menu, but fries and frikadellen were.
“A lot of things are not arranged, that’s part of the culture there,” Langeler laughs. “But a day later the sun comes up again and the weather is nice again. There is music and everyone is happy.”
Langeler soon resigned himself to it. “A piece of fries in the open air, that’s fine. You can worry about that, but I’ve learned to do it as well as possible with the resources that are available.”