‘AZ has best youth academy in the world’
“It’s great. I have no words for it. We can’t describe with a pen how beautiful this is.” The joy is great for AZ coach Jan Sierksma after his talent team’s stunning 5-0 win over Hajduk Split in the UEFA Youth League final.
“AZ has the best youth training in the world, we showed that. Not only this match, but the whole tournament,” said Ernest Poku, who accounted for two goals at the final in Geneva.
“We have the trophy and are the best in the world, I can say,” believes striker Mexx Meerdink, good for two goals and an assist in the final match.
Meerdink after Youth League win: ‘Have put AZ and the fantastic education on the map’
The Alkmaar players’ victory march in the Youth League, with a 5-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, 3-0 over FC Barcelona and 4-0 over Real Madrid, ended in the final match against Hajduk with another resounding victory.
Towel over head
For Meerdink, it was still very exciting whether he would make the final. On Sunday he dropped out injured in the ‘big’ AZ’s premier league match with RKC Waalwijk.
“I sat with a towel over me in the dressing room yesterday,” the 19-year-old striker recounted. “I thought: that final, that’s not going to be it. But I still did everything for it and now I’m here with two goals and an assist.”
“But of course it’s not just about me,” he hastens to say. “It’s a fantastic team performance, we did it as a team.”
AZ coach Sierksma: ‘Have no words for it, but is heartily deserved’
At nine o’clock Monday morning, coach Sierksma was told that he would still have Meerdink at his disposal, for one half. “It was really a rollercoaster,” the coach said. “Well, not, well, not, but it worked out really well.”
Meerdink: “And from Alkmaar I am now standing in Geneva holding up the cup. What a great week.” He fell in after halftime and fortunately didn’t suffer from anything. “Only from goal fever,” laughed the AZ attacker.
Poku after Youth League victory: ‘Am grateful to team for allowing me to shine’
Poku also scored twice in the final, but that does not mean he sees himself as one of the big men: “Everyone is equally important, I am grateful to the team that I was able to shine and that I was able to score two goals.”
“And Mexx also had two goals again, he only needed one half,” laughed the striker with a big AZ flag around his neck. “What a man. We just won 5-0. Lovely.”