Champions! Photo | Bart van Overbeeke

Champion’s party for Hajraa Men’s 1st gains royal tinge

In a packed Student Sports Center on Saturday evening the fans of Hajraa Men's 1st team chanted their volleyball team to another victory, and celebrated their victory in the third division championship. The event turned into a double party, one with a royal tinge: trainer Henri van Schijndel was appointed Member of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

For more than fifty years Henri van Schijndel has been involved in the world of volleyball. The trainer of Hajraa's Men's 1st team was surprised in the full sports hall of the Student Sports Center by Helmond's deputy major Frans Stienen, who had the honor of appointing him as a Member of the Order of Orange-Nassau. This was accompanied by the loud cheering and applause of the crowd who had turned out to see the last match in this competition and celebrate Hajraan's victory in the championship. The team became official champion last week but celebrated after their home match against Nuvoc from Veldhoven.


Henri van Schijndel (70) has been training Hajraa's first team for two years now. He has been closely involved in Dutch volleyball from a young age. As a player he played in the premier league and he later became a trainer and coach. He has lived and breathed volleyball all his life. And he has worked as trainer/coach for various volleyball associations for more than fifty years. "I'm not a coach who spends a year here and a year there giving training. I like to create a good basis at a club that will stand them in good stead later on," says Van Schijndel.



"Training a student association is different from training a 'regular' club. All the students have tasks at the association. They experience some personal development here, both socially and in terms of their sport. This creates a very strong feeling of solidarity at Hajraa."

This solidarity within Hajraa was clearly evident on Saturday evening: all the teams were present to help celebrate the championship. "It was the championship match, of course, and we were playing at home. Family, friends, acquaintances, daughter, son and grandchildren were all there. But when I suddenly saw the deputy mayor come in, dressed in full regalia, I knew something was going on. I didn't know I was going to be knighted, but it's a very fine feeling."

Second division

With this success, Hajraa Men's 1st secures promotion to the second division. "We are going to try to reach the upper levels of the second division next year," says coach Van Schijndel. 

Photo's | Bart van Overbeeke


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