I was born in 1956 in a camp for Moluccan people in Vught. I had six brothers and five sisters and we all lived in three tiny rooms that were crammed with bunk beds. I was four years old when we left the camp and moved to Tiel. My father was a cardboard cutter in Bussum, a tough worker. My mother was a housewife and we really needed that with our big family. She was really our motor at home, she kept everything going and my sisters helped her with the housekeeping. When I was fifteen years old I got the opportunity to play football at Ajax. We had to pay everything out of our own pocket and that was not always easy. Three times a week I traveled from Tiel to Amsterdam and on Sunday I played games. On school days I usually missed the last lesson, because I had to leave early to be on time at the training at Ajax.
TRUST AND RESPECT
My wife and I have been married for over 36 years. Our parents are from the same village in Indonesia, the two families have been good friends for generations and were on the same boat to the Netherlands and ended up in Vught together. I felt in love with her during a bingo evening, I was in my early twenties. We now have two sons and we are grandfather and grandmother. Our sons are in their early thirties, I think I was a strict father to them. Although, due to my soccer career, I was away from home a lot. My wife took care about our sons in that period. Within our family we have typical Moluccan norms and values. Respect is our keyword.
I am a very open person, sometimes even too open, if you ask my wife. When I walk around at the youth complex of Ajax, I talk with everyone. From my colleagues on the field security boys at the gate. For me it’s important that people feel welcome. Also I give my trust quickly to others. Yes, trust is the base for me. I think it is important to see other people grow. I do not like to be in the picture, that’s not necessary. I have my own role and as long as I can do my thing, I am a happy man.
Simon Tahamata has played for Dutch and Belgian professional clubs and also played for the Dutch national team. Tahamata played in the youth for amateur club Theole in Tiel and then he went to play for the youth academy of AFC Ajax. On October 24 in 1976, he made his debut for the 1st team of AFC Ajax. After Ajax Tahamata played for Standard Liege, Feyenoord, Beerschot and Germinal Ekeren.
Simon won three times the national champion with Ajax, he won the Dutch Cup once and played the semi-final of the European Cup in 1980. With Standard Liege Simon won the Belgian championship twice, he won the Belgian Cup once and played in the European Cup II final in 1982. In total, Tahamata played more than 600 games in professional football and scored more than the magic limit of 100 goals during his career. Finally, Simon played 22 times for the Dutch national team. Tahamata ended his career as a professional soccer player in 1996.
Right after his career as a professional soccer player Simon became a youth coach. He started at Standard Liege, then he coached at Germinal Beerschot and later AFC Ajax. In 2009 he left for Saudi Arabia to become technical youth coach at Al-Ahli. After five years he returned to the youth academy of AFC Ajax, and now he is responsible as a youth coach for the whole youth academy. In 2015 Simon started his own academy to improve even more youth players. During his coaching career he improved a lot of players in the youth academies of Standard, Germinal and Ajax. A lot of players made it professional and even some of them are still playing at the highest level. Some big names where Simon have worked with are among others Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Justin Kluivert.