New Delhi: Hockey legend Teun de Nooijer of the Netherlands is the most decorated player in the sport. Twice Olympic champion, once World Cup winner, thrice World Player of the Year, a world record 453 caps (219 goals) and 18 illustrious years on the turf.
De Nooijer, who retired after the 2012 London Olympic Games, stunned his fans recently, swapping hockey for football. He took up the role of a manager with a football club in Holland earlier this month.
“It gives me an opportunity to do something new. It is quite challenging and a different sport, but I feel it’s good to step out of your zone and have a look at what life has in store,” de Nooijer told this newspaper from Lucknow, where he is playing for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League-2.
The 37-year-old de Nooijer has signed up with Alkmaar Club — popularly known as the AZ Club — and will join them on March 1. He however, is not too worried about not having played professional football. “It is not exactly like Premier League football, where the managers play a huge role. We have a coach and I will be essentially a manager,” he said.