Shortage of socks, rickety team bus and sleeping in the kitchen
WILLEMSTAD - Patrick Kluivert is working on a dream in Curaçao. The Caribbean island, reaching the 2018 World Cup, with the help of the former pit stops and an increasingly 'Dutch' selection. Today is the match against Cuba.
A report about the night in a youth hostel, a chronic shortage of socks and a rickety team bus - no windows.
“It is a little improvisation, yes.”
Patrick Kluivert chuckles again as the security manager accidentally drops his microphone into a glass of water. The coach of Curaçao's team is not so quickly surprised anymore. Not even the brightly painted old bus with no windows, in which he and his players are transported every day to the training listening to the laid back reggae tones of Bob Marley.
“This is a different world than last year at the World Cup, that's right,” Kluivert says with a big smile, a year ago, he was assistant to Louis van Gaal in Brazil.
“Where everything was arranged to perfection. Here is improvisation, but as a coach, I'm getting better and wiser for it. It is one big adventure. I even consider this as a luggage. It gives a kick when we get things done.”
Improvising, collecting, organizing, managing, tickling, getting annoyed and more. When the equipment manager is still asleep in the morning, or that there are too few socks for all 23 players: Kluivert wants to improve it all, but he cannot break iron with hands. Curaçao is Curaçao, a Caribbean island in gear.
Placement for the World Cup would be a downright miracle for a country that only since five years is an independent member of FIFA. In the match against Montserrat in April he lodged with the Curaçao selection in a youth hostel - for lack of beds a handful of substitutes slept in the kitchen.
Not to mention the trip to Montserrat. Kluivert and his team had to go the final lap of the trip by boat from Antigua to Montseratt, because the runway was too short to land.
“It was terrible on that boat, with all that rough water,” said Kluivert.
“But it is all beautiful again.”