Doekhi looks back on his Ajax time: ‘Wanted to train with the best players in the country every day’

Danilho Doekhi opposes Football zone exuberant about his time at Ajax. The team from Amsterdam took over the defender from Excelsior in 2016, but he left the capital two seasons later. The Union Berlin player also looks ahead to the Europa League match with his old employer.

Doekhi was picked up in 2016 for a training fee by Ajax, where his uncle, Winston Bogarde, was active. ‘I didn’t have a contract at that time and I could be picked up for a training fee. That year I also played in the Oranje Under 18, which put me in the spotlight at several clubs.

The defender explains why he chose to move to Ajax at the time. “I wanted to develop myself by training every day with the best players in the country.” The fact that Bogarde was also active at Ajax did not influence his choice, says Doekhi. ‘Although I did of course have extra information about the state of affairs within the club because of him. I was able to make a lot of progress at Ajax on the physical aspect, but I was also able to learn a lot while playing football’, says Doekhi.

In the two seasons that Doekhi played in Amsterdam, he was immediately successful. He was part of the selection of Ajax’s promising team, which won the Eerste Divisie for the first time in history. ‘A season earlier Jong Ajax had finished second with players such as Frenkie de Jong, Abdelhak Nouri and Matthijs de Ligt. The fact that we succeeded a season later makes it very special. In the years that followed, not even a U21 team came close to that achievement, so that says a lot’, Doekhi says.

However, Doekhi then decided that he was ready for a new adventure. ‘I felt I was ready for the Eredivisie.’ The defender left the capital. Doekhi had to compete with big names in the first team of Ajax. De Ligt did a great job at Ajax and Daley Blind had just returned from Manchester United. Then I took the plunge to look further.’

Europa League match with Ajax


In February, Ajax will compete against Doekhi and his Union Berlin. The defender smells opportunities, because Ajax is not having a good season so far. ‘Ajax is a bit less in shape than in recent years, but of course we will only meet them in a few months. So you don’t know what form they are in then and maybe they will do something on the transfer market. We have faith that we can beat them!’

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