“The first international tournament is an unforgettable experience”

While the top European clubs gather this week in Amsterdam and Terrassa for the EHL, the best of the Dutch national youth will meet international opponents over Easter in Zwolle and English Lileshal. “The first international is an experience you will never forget,” said Dutch Girls B national coach Dan Sapel.

“The girls are playing against three countries in five days. It is a tournament they have been looking forward to for a long time. In our country, with an audience. This is a beautiful experience for them. It is also the first time the girls have worn the orange shirt. This is very special, because they played in blue.” The last time.

That last time was last October when the team played a match against Belgium. Dutch Girls B did not participate in many international matches last year. Because of the Corona pandemic, international matches were limited to that match against southern neighbors and a three-nation tournament.

Three duels in Zwolle

In the coming days, the team will play in the Zwolle complex against England, Germany and Ireland. Although Belgium also belongs to the field of participants, the Belgians and the Dutch do not meet each other. Sabel announced two weeks ago his selection for the tournament. “I was sorry to disappoint a number of guys. I actually thought these girls belonged, but I had to choose.

Dutch Girls B celebrates a goal during Volvo 6 Nations in Eindhoven in 2019. Source: Willem Vernes

“It’s a beautiful, talented pick,” Sabel says of the set. Many of the girls have already made their debut in the Eredivisie or are training with a first team playing in the Eredivisie. It is a high level. I think it’s great, for example, that a player from Leiden (Marle Keetman, editor) also joins this level.”

The five-nation tournament is the first step for players on their path to achieving this goal: the big orange. “Girls have a lot to learn and experience. As employees, we want to pass on a number of things to them: have things in order, know what is expected of you and invest in each other and in yourself. We provide the frameworks, and the girls then have to dictate it themselves.


According to Sabel, it concerns not only hockey topics, but also other topics. How do you take care of yourself and take care of yourself? How do you divide your time? We trained on Monday and on Tuesday the girls had school exams. How do you combine school and hockey? We will arrange breakfast and lunch during the tournament. Players must tell the manager what they want to eat. If they want to watch the video again, we will arrange it for them, but we will not show it. As employees, we don’t want to chew everything up. They have to learn and experience it.

This is the most important thing in the coming days. Sabel says the findings are of secondary importance. I don’t want to focus on that. Girls should play well. When the first game starts, I wish them a lot of fun. Against Belgium they showed that the level went up during the match where you would expect it to go down. I thought this was very nice. I look back at the tournament with relief as the girls show an upward trend, getting closer and investing in each other.

B-Germany girls duel during the Volvo 6 Nations in Eindhoven in 2019. Photo: Willem Vernes

summer program

After the five-nation tournament in Zwolle, an exchange with Germany on Pentecost will follow, after which the training intensity will increase to three times a week from June 20. After that, Sabel says, the team engages in hockey full-time. This comes in preparation for the eight-team tournament in Barcelona at the end of next July.

These are busy times for Sabeel, who last week traveled with the Orange bigs to India for two Pro League matches. I haven’t had much time to process everything yet. Much has been said and written in the previous period. The girls handled it well. I am proud of them. There might have been more residents, which is a shame. But it was an unforgettable experience.

National coach Dan Sapel of the Dutch girls’ team B. Photography: William Vernes

Dutch program for boys B and girls B

Friday 15th April
11:00 am. Dutch Boys B – England
1:00 pm Dutch girls B – England
3 o’clock Belgium – Ireland (M)
5:00 pm. Belgium – Ireland (J)
Saturday 16th April
11:00 am. Belgium – Germany (M)
1:00 pm Belgium – Germany (J)
3 o’clock Ireland – England (J)
5:00 pm. Ireland – England (M)
Sunday 17 April
11:00 am. Ireland – Dutch Boys B
1:00 pm Ireland – Dutch girls b
3 o’clock Germany – England (M)
5:00 pm. Germany – England (J)
Monday 18th April
09:00 am England – Belgium (M)
10:30 am England – Belgium (J)
12:00 noon Dutch Boys B – Germany
1:30 pm Dutch girls B – Germany

Dutch girls and boys pick A on their way to Lilleshall in England. Photo: Helen Legon van der Ben

It’s not just Dutch B girls and boys during Easter. Dutch girls and boys “A” also play an international tournament. That tournament is in Lilleshall, England.

Dutch program boys A and girls A

Friday 15th April
11:00 am. Ireland – Dutch Girls A
1:00 pm Ireland – Dutch Boys A
3 o’clock Belgium – England (M)
5:00 pm. Belgium – England (J)
Saturday 16th April
11:00 am. Ireland – Belgium (m)
1:00 pm Ireland – Belgium (J)
3 o’clock England – Germany (M)
5:00 pm. England – Germany (J)
Sunday 17 April
11:00 am. Germany – Belgium (M)
1:00 pm Germany – Belgium (J)
3 o’clock England – Dutch girls A
5:00 pm. England – Dutch Boys A
Monday 18th April
09:00 am Dutch girls A – Germany
10:45 AM Dutch Boys A – Germany
12:30 pm England – Ireland (M)
2:15 pm England – Ireland (J)

Leave a Comment