Ajax is not extending the contract of coach John Heitinga at the end of the season.
The Amsterdam powerhouse finished third in the Eredivisie and missed out on a Champions League berth for next season. The club was languishing in fifth position when Heitinga took over from the sacked Alfred Schreuder in early February.
“On a personal level, it was a tough decision and not easy to tell him,” director of football Sven Mislintat said on Thursday after informing Heitinga. “John stepped in to help the club at a difficult time.” But Mislintat said he reached the conclusion that Ajax “needs a more experienced coach” to help the squad improve next season. Heitinga was coach of Young Ajax, the club’s second team, before taking over from Schreuder.
In his playing days, Heitinga was a defender for clubs including Ajax, Everton and Fulham as well as playing in 87 internationals for the Netherlands. In the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg, he was sent off in extra time. The Dutch lost to Spain 1-0.
Schreuder was fired just half a season after taking over the reins when Erik ten Hag left to join Manchester United.
This week, director Edwin van der Sar quit, saying he was exhausted after nearly 11 years on the Ajax board.