THE HAGUE (AFP) - Dutch former star player Ronald Koeman was on Tuesday (Feb 6) anointed coach of the national team, given the Herculean task of restoring the country's pride after a series of humiliating defeats.
The Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement that it had "reached an agreement with Ronald Koeman over his appointment as the Dutch national coach."
Koeman has "just signed a contract which ties him to Oranje with immediate effect up to and including the 2022 World Cup" in Qatar, it added.
Nic-Jan Hoogma, currently with Heracles Alemlo, was also named a top sports director by the KNVB.
The new chance for glory for 54-year-old Koeman, comes after he was sacked by Premier League team Everton in October following a string of defeats which saw the Toffees fall into the relegation zone.
Koeman takes up the national reins at the Netherlands from Dick Advocaat, who had been one in a raft of unsuccessful appointments for the Oranje since 2014.
Advocaat arrived in May for a third stint as national coach, but stepped down seven months later after failing to steer the struggling European heavyweights into the World Cup finals in Russia.
It was a massive humiliation for the football-mad Dutch, causing much soul-searching and an added blow to national pride after the team also missed Euro 2016.
For the blond-haired Koeman, the return home sees him come full circle, back to the nation where he first strapped on football boots.
He had already been earmarked in 2014 to replace Louis van Gaal, who left to join Manchester United after taking the Dutch squad to third place in the World Cup in Brazil.
But instead, the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) appointed another stalwart Guus Hiddink, who was then replaced by Danny Blind, followed by Advocaat - all in just over three-and-a-half years.
During that time the national team slumped from one disappointment to another.
An attack-minded central defender, Koeman picked up 78 Dutch caps as a player between 1982-94, scoring 14 goals. He represented his country in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, and helped his team to victory for the first time in the 1988 Uefa European championships.