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Kaagman Never Expected Holland Debut In Front Of 27,000 People

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When Inessa Kaagman expected to make her international debut for Holland, it was as a late substitute in a game the Dutch were tipped to win somewhere in Europe.

Instead, her maiden bow turned out to be in front of 27,000 fans creating a carnival atmosphere at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa. And she started the game, to boot.

January’s 2-1 win over Banyana Banyana was a timely one for Kaagman. Despite becoming a regular in Netherlands squads since her initial call-up in August 2018, it was only last month that Kaagman finally saw minutes on the pitch. 

But it was worth the wait. In a match that formed part of Dutch preparations for this summer’s World Cup in France, the 22-year-old finally made her international bow, much to her relief, in the 2-1 win.

“It is awesome, isn’t it?!” she smiled. “To have my first cap is amazing. It was on TV so my family could watch it as well. When I thought of my debut, it was always coming on after 70 or 80 minutes. But I started against South Africa so that was really exciting.

“It was great to do that in central midfield as well. It shows that the coach and the staff have faith in me that I can handle it. That is an important thing to know and it gives you more confidence.

“I’m pleased to have earned my first cap before the World Cup. Because it was my first appearance, I was really nervous. Now that has gone. Now I am officially part of the international team so I can build from here.

“The game itself was interesting – South Africa were not as physical as we expected and were actually quite technical. They were very quick as well; you would move to pick up a pass and they were straight onto you.

“But it was great to play an African side because it is not what you are used to. It will serve us well at the World Cup to have played against a different style, and we came out with the win, too.”

The trip was not solely a football exercise. Holland spent around a week out in Cape Town, spending time in the local communities putting on soccer clinics for young children.

View this post on Instagram

So extremely proud and what an honour to make my debut against South Africa!! ??? A day to remember!???? #oranjeleeuwinnen #onzejacht #roadtofrance #debut #happy #southafrica

A post shared by Inessa Kaagman (@inessakaagman) on Jan 19, 2019 at 10:30am PST

It was an eye-opening experience for Kaagman, who had Everton teammate Siri Worm out there with her.

“I didn’t imagine my debut would be somewhere like South Africa,” she added. “It was a really nice trip because it wasn’t just about playing football, it was about engaging with the locals, and we also had the chance to see Robben Island and Table Mountain. 

“It was really special to be out there. You see things on TV and people living in the conditions that they do but when you get out there and see it with your own eyes, it is incredible. 

“You see all the happy kids and you realise that they are satisfied with so little in their lives. To help them for a little while, put smiles on their faces and play a little football with them was a great experience."

View this post on Instagram

What a beautiful day ! ???? #schoolvisit #township #capetown #run4schools #cocreate #oranjeleeuwinnen

A post shared by Inessa Kaagman (@inessakaagman) on Jan 17, 2019 at 12:41am PST

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