Beenhakker interview: “In Football 2+2 is not always 4”

Here’s a fun interview we found via the official Soca Warriors site:
Beenhakker: “In Football 2+2 is not always 4”
by: Alexander Laux (Hamburger Abendblatt)
Leo Beenhakker coaches World Cup side Trinidad &Tobago. The Caribbean country is especially fired-up for the match versus England.
Abendblatt: Mr. Beenhakker, your team is considered a rank outsider…
Beenhakker: … We certainly aren’t the favorite for the title. But we should also be respected. 196 countries wanted to get to the World Cup, and we belong to the group of 32. My players have the same ambitions and dreams as all the others: To execute good matches and to be successful. Besides: I am able to field predominantly professional players from England and Scottland.
Abendblatt: In your group you face Sweden, England, and Paraguay. What would you consider a success?
Beenhakker: Our dream is to surprise these opponents. In football two and two don’t always add up to four. Sometimes five. No one can be sure, not even the big sides. In football you always have a chance. It’s that simple.
Abendblatt: What would a point against England unleash in the former British colony?
Beenhakker: The general concensus in Trinidad is: It doesn’t matter what else we do, the main thing is to beat England. After our qualification we had three months of carnival. If we don’t lose against England we would well have carnival for a whole year.
Abendblatt: Is your squad set? Lately you have been doing a lot of tests.
Beenhakker: Potentially we may add four, five new players. The phenomena after our qualification was, that we got a lot of mail from players who had a grandmother in Trinidad.
Abendblatt: Theoretically, you could meet Germany in the group of 16. As with Holland in 1990…
Beenhakker: …yeah, I’ve already spoke to J├╝rgen about that.
Abendblatt: Do you still remember the World Cup of 1990?
Beenhakker: No. Yes, of course I remember. I was coaching at Amsterdam, and took over three weeks before the tournament. But it brought no joy. It was a good lesson for me how not to play in the World Cup.
Adendblatt: Is working with Trinidad now different?
Beenhakker: The difference is not that great. It’s football! The pressure may be great on the favorites, but that is a superficial difference. Within the teams everything it’s always the same: every player wants to profile himself, wants to be a star, wants to win.
Abendblatt: Trinidad stuttered its way through qualification. What did you change once you arrived?
Beenhakker: In general the problem in the “small” countries is playing football together [as a team]. So we attempted to establish a discipline, an organization, and coordination amongst the players. Also we changed the offensive philosophy. Everyone wanted to attack enthusiastically.
Abendblatt: What excites you personally about coaching an “underdog”?
Beenhakker: I’ve heard this question a lot. It has never been my motivation in the past 40 years, to only work with big sides. My life, my love is football. If I train a U-17 selection tomorrow, I will be happy. It is always the task to create a team out of a cadre of 20 people with different personalities and abilities.
Abendblatt: How long do you want to coach in Trinidad?
Beenhakker: As long as I have fun doing it. That’s the thing. I don’t tell myself that I should quit at a certain age.
Abendblatt: Why are there so many Dutch coaches in the World Cup?
Beenhakker: Because we’re good! Seriously, we are proud that there are about 80 Dutch coaches working around the world today. Maybe it has something to do with our philosophy. We always want to play football proactively, to take initiative, and have the match in hand, in combination with organization and discipline. Exemplary was how Guus Hiddink created a first class team out of South Korea in 2002.
Abendblatt: Who are your favorites for 2006?
Beenhakker: From a talent standpoint, Brasil. England has an outside chance. And Germany, naturally. I don’t know what’s going on there at the moment. I now heard that Ms. Merkel [German chancellor] is going to choose the squad. That’s not bad. If she does that well she could help me, too. … But really, Germany has very good players.
Abendblatt: You are an experienced coach. Germany is trying it with a rookie. Is that a big risk?
Beenhakker: Van Basten was a also a novice, but he played a superior qualification. It’s not only about Klinsmann. The whole country is a little nervous. The most important thing is that first game. If they can handle the pressure and win, they will be a major candidate for the title. I’m sure of that.
Abendblatt: Do you commute between Europe and the Caribbean?
Beenhakker: No, I live and work in Trinidad. But I know what you’re getting at. The German federation acknowledged the fact that Klinsmann would travel between California and Germany to begin with. So what’s the problem? If he had beaten Italy 4 to1, no one would be talking. That’s how opportunistic football is. Everything is oriented around the last result. One should look beyond that.
Great interview!!

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One comment on “Beenhakker interview: “In Football 2+2 is not always 4”
  1. Dutch coaching should be trademarked

    With the Socceroos getting into the World Cup for the first time in 32 years under the tutelage of Guus Hiddink and Leo Beenhakker taking the Soca Warriors to the World Cup, there seems to be a definite trend. Go…

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