After having enjoyed his entire youth training at NEC, crowned with a few appearances in the Juniors, Navarone Foor (27) already started his fourth season at arch-rival Vitesse in Arnhem this summer. Vitesse now feels like home, but Nijmegen is still his city. “It’s just around the corner.”
We get a place in the boardroom of the Gelredome, a suitable location. After a number of top years, Foor now sometimes has to settle for a place on the comfortable seat on the bench. “Of course: you always want to play, but you don’t always get what you want in top sport. I trust my own qualities and work hard every week, just like everyone else does. Whether it’s in the supermarket, or anywhere, we all have to work hard to keep our place.”
Where Foor saw others go abroad, he experienced a career in the east of the country. The offensive midfielder remained loyal to NEC after relegation from the Eredivisie and became champion of the Jupiler League in 2015. Foor: “That was the most beautiful thing.” He was voted Player of the Year by NEC supporters in 2015 and 2016, and was ready for the next step.
Photography by Liesje Rose
“The first season at Vitesse we immediately played in Europe. That period, or just after, was perhaps my very best. I played really great, consistently. Maybe that was the right time to go for a foreign adventure.”
Navarone Foor played for the highest youth teams of the Oranje squad with Wijnaldum, Van Dijk, Promes, boys of the same generation. “And you have to see where they are playing now. Hakim Ziyech was then still at Heerenveen and I often came across that. He could kick a nice ball even back then.”
But has he – as a Moluccan Dutchman – ever thought of turning out for Indonesia? “Yes, but I don’t have an Asian passport, so I would have to relocate. But it does have something beautiful, of course. Those people there are crazy about football. To see the reactions on Instagram, to see how many people send you a message, beautiful! If I write something back in Malay, they are completely proud.”