Dutch Lions, Holland’s national team, cancel Belgium game, revamp for 2018

The Dutch Lions, the national team of Holland, has put the rest of 2017 on hold and cancelled an international friendly against Belgium.

The Lions program has been one of the most active and improved programs in Europe in recent years, so it came as a surprise to Belgian head coach Lee Rosky, that a game scheduled for September 19 was suddenly cancelled.

However, according to John Mahnen, spokesman for the Dutch American Football Federation – American Football Bond Nederland – this was simply a matter of circumstances:

“The Dutch Lions laid out a plan earlier this year whereby a game in September was entirely feasible. Unfortunately, following the departure of Rey Agaoglu, a new head coach was not able to be announced in time to execute the plan. We do anticipate a return of the Dutch Lions with fixtures in 2018. The game against Belgium, which was envisaged for this September, was postponed until further notice. We anticipate naming a new coach after the summer.”

In the Dutch Lions last game, they lost to Team Poland in October 2016.

Rumors had been swirling about the release of the entire Dutch Lions junior coaching staff following a successful European Junior tournament in early June. The young Lions had played well but lost two close qualifying games in Holland in early June, finishing fourth in the group.

Again, according to Mahnen, this is not so unusual:

“Following the European Junior Qualifying tournament, the board informed the staff that the end of this EJC cycle was the right moment to revamp the program. The overall youth numbers are a matter of concern and the AFBN will once again run a Football Academy this fall to help the clubs get more kids playing football.”

The Dutch Lions senior team has played an average of two to three games every year for the past three years and has helped identify and develop excellent players from Holland, including running back Chris Smith of the Berlin Rebels in Germany and receiver Tom van Duijin who plays for Europe’s top club team, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

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