Celebrated Dutch striker Teun de Nooijer calls time on club career
Celebrated Dutch hockey striker Teun de Nooijer will be call time on club hockey at the end of this season. The star player, who turns out for HC Bloemendaal in the Euro Hockey League, will call it quits at club level, which effectively means that he would putting a full stop to his playing career in all formats.
Nooijer announced his retirement from international hockey shortly after helping the Netherlands to a silver medal finish at the 2012 London Olympics. He played a mammoth 453 internationals and scored 219 goals.
Nooijer last participated in the inaugural Hero Hockey India League held at various venues across India. He turned out for the Sahara Pariwar-owned Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who finished third when they rallied splendidly to beat Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the third place play-off match, riding on a superb hat-trick by drag-flicker Vokkaliga Raghunath.
On the personal front, the Netherlands forward was a huge disappointment for the Indian hockey fans. Nooijer struggled to rattle the opposition cage even once in Uttar Pradesh Wizards’15 HIL matches.
The lack of goals from the stick of Nooijer was strongly felt by the Uttar Pradesh Wizards as they only contrived to score 19 goals in the league stage, the least among the five participation teams – a fair indication of how the scoring prowess of the Dutch forward hamstrung the Wizards.
And to rub salt to his HIL’s wounds, Nooijer was even green-carded in the third-place play-off match against Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
The Euro Hockey League’s KO16 Amsterdam hockey event would be the very last time that Nooijer would be taking part in the EHL.
The 37-year-old is one of the clinical strikers the sport ever produced. Best remembered for wearing the number 14 shirt in honour of Dutch football great Johan Cruyff, Noojer carved a niche for himself with his blistering speed, razor-sharp passes and superb finishing.
No wonder, he was named the FIH Player of the Year thrice – in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Nooijer made his international debut as a 18-year-old against New Zealand in a friendly match on 4th June 1994.
He bagged a silver medal for the men in Oranje when they finished runners-up to Pakistan at the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, suffering a heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat.
The Dutch striker was at his best, helping the Netherlands to win the gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Nooijer scored the golden goal against Spain in the 1998 World Cup final in Utrecht, before going on to pick up his second consecutive Olympic Gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
An injury forced him out of the Athens 2004 Olympic men’s hockey final against Australia, which the Kookaburras won. A shot at a third straight Olympic medal came a cropper.
Amid the highs, Nooijer also endured the lows as well. He was part of the Netherlands’ 2008 Beijing Olympic team, which failed to make a podium finish.
He also won gold medals at four Champions Trophy tournaments. On the club front, Nooijer has helped HC Bloemendaal to nine Dutch league titles as well.
He also runs the Teun de Nooijer Academy, which helps youngsters to hone their skills in pursuit of excellence.