Stefan Duyf refuses to throw in the towel

Waiting for the first win of the season, the pressure on Oranje-Rood, the current number twelve of the Dutch big league, is increasing every week. How does coach Stefan Duyf view the situation, after the worrying 1-2 defeat against competitor Kampong ?

‘ Copypaste , that’s it again’, are the first words of the 38-year-old coach when asked what he thought of the game. Interviews must feel like deja vu to him these days. Almost weekly, his analysis is comparable to that of the week before. And the week before that.

Even now, he says, “I feel like we’ve done ourselves a disservice. I only saw one team that claimed the win and that was Orange-Red. Again.’

Captain Lisa Scheerlinck does not keep it dry after the defeat against Kampong. Photo: Willem Vernes

The blow was hard

Tears rolled down her cheeks for captain Lisa Scheerlinck. Talent Trijntje Beljaars hid her face in her hands. Striker Sian Keil looked defeated, sitting in the dugout. Orange-Red, which saw the gap with eleventh place grow to three points, was seriously injured in the ropes after the relegation battle with Kampong.

The last place symbolizes the fall of Orange-Red, which in 2017 still wanted to attack the traditional top three and tried to seduce some players from Den Bosch, including dribbling queen Lidewij Welten, into a transfer to Eindhoven. Three seasons ago, Oranje-Rood made it to the play-offs.

After the corona crisis broke out, and with Yibbi Jansen, Laura Nunnink and Freeke Moes the best players had already left, the club reduced the budget for Ladies 1. Last season, that already led to a fall to ninth place. Meanwhile, the problems for Oranje-Rood, which has to miss Pauline Leclef, Janneke van de Venne and Kim Janssens, are even greater.

The disappointment is great with Sian Keil. Photo: Willem Vernes

How much does the situation worry you?
Duyf: ‘At the moment quite a lot, of course. Our patience is being tested. It’s not easy, I’m very honest about that. But I think we have the longest breath.’

This is not where you should be.
‘New. I agree with that. At the moment I’m not going to say where I think we belong. At the moment we just have to work on getting rid of that last spot. But really fair? Of all the teams we have played against so far, I was only impressed by Den Bosch and HGC. We could have won against all the other teams.’

Is it bad luck, is it a lack of quality? What is it?
‘A combination, I think. Although I don’t like to throw it on bad luck. I can’t do anything with that. I only deal with things that I can influence. Look, you can look at the situation in two ways. On the one hand it is of course very sour and I am disappointed that we are in last place. At the same time, based on the field game, I see enough leads. It’s not like we’re being played from pillar to post every week. Only: we have to grow up and learn to close matches.’

If you lose the same way almost every week, isn’t it time to come up with a different battle plan?
“We have made some adjustments in recent weeks. We change things up a bit every week. But in general we continue on the line that we have been deployed. I firmly believe in what we are doing. We are at 95 percent of where I hope we are. I will never throw in the towel.’

Trijntje Beljaars stares blankly ahead. Photo: Willem Vernes

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