Football: Danny Blind appointed new Dutch coach

Danny Blind is the new Netherlands coach.
Danny Blind is the new Netherlands coach.AFP

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Danny Blind was named as new Netherlands coach on Wednesday, taking over from Guus Hiddink who left the post with the Dutch team struggling to qualify for Euro 2016.

“Danny Blind has been appointed as new coach of the Dutch eleven, starting from August 1,” the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement.

Former Dutch international Blind, 53, will be contracted until August 2018 with an evaluation planned after the 2015-16 season, the KNVB said from its headquarters in central Netherlands.

“We’re happy we could quickly find a home-grown successor following Guus Hiddink’s departure,” KNVB boss Bert van Oostveen said in the statement.

Hiddink stepped down Monday following a string of disappointing performances in the Oranje’s qualifying campaign for next year’s championship in France.

With four matches remaining the Dutch – who finished third at last year’s World Cup under Louis van Gaal – are third in qualifying Group A with 10 points, three points behind the Czech Republic and five adrift of surprise leaders Iceland.

Blind is currently the Oranje’s assistant coach and is Manchester United and Dutch international player Daley Blind’s father.

“I’m committed to working hard with staff and players to qualify for next year’s European championship,” Blind said in the same statement.

“I’m neither looking back nor further ahead than next year’s Euro 2016. Qualifying is my only aim,” he said.

Blind is to reveal his plans in greater detail in press conferences planned ahead of a home match against Iceland on Sept 3 and away against Turkey on Sept 6, said the KNVB.

Only the top two and the best third-placed side from the nine groups qualify automatically for Euro 2016, with the remaining third-placed finishers going into play-offs.

Hiddink, 68, has overseen four wins and five defeats in 10 games since returning for a second spell as Dutch coach last summer.

Blind, who enjoyed a highly successful playing career winning all three European club trophies including the 1995 Champions League, was supposed to only take over from Hiddink next year after Euro 2016 and Dutch media have pointed to his relative inexperience.

The former Ajax defender has been head coach at the Amsterdam-based club for one season only in 2005-06.

He’s also held other positions among Ajax’s staff including technical director, assistant and youth coach.