Antibarbari’s first men’s team’s objective for this season is to score forty points. Now that it has some new players – mainly international students – the team should be able to improve on last year’s ranking (9th, scoring 39 points) in the D category of the second amateur league, despite the fact that the players’ degrees are their main priority and the so-called ‘third half’ is just a little more important to them than it is to regular football clubs. It will not be an easy task.
The first blow is half the battle. Whether that will be true for the new and improved Antibarbari’s entire season remains to be seen, but it is a fact that the team has scored its first three points, beating ONA 1 from Gouda, 4-1.
About one hundred spectators enjoyed a few beers while watching Antibarbari win its first home game of the season in emphatic fashion. Wonderful Indian summer weather made the afternoon even better, although it may have contributed to two players overheating and being sent off following a bit of a kerfuffle.
Despite this slight blot on the game, the team’s captain, Roy Kerner, was satisfied with the team’s start to the new league season. The former psychology student, 29, has been on the team for quite a few years now and has seen many players come and go. As the team’s captain, he seeks to inculcate his teammates with the club’s culture.
“We often stick around to have a few beers and have fun together after a training session or a game. The third half is as vital to the atmosphere at our club as the previous two halves.” For instance, the team goes on a weekend trip once a year and they often go out together.
But obviously, the club’s A squad seeks to perform well too. “The club invests a lot in its A squad players. We can’t let them down.”
Last Sunday Antibarbari not only looked like a close-knit team, but coach Hans Harmans’s team also seemed to be doing well condition-wise and technique-wise. It was under Harmans’s guidance that Antibarbari won the third league two years ago and survived the second league last year.
This year Harmans has a few new players at his disposal. “We get a few new international students every year. There are generally one or two good players among them.” Antibarbari’s A squad currently comprises an Irishman, an Australian and a German, among other players.
Student team or not, Harmans is determined to have his players live up to their potential. “You must be fit when you walk onto the pitch. If you’re not fit, we’re not the right kind of place for you.”