Suriname heading for the World Cup 2026 with JOHAN


Suriname’s national football team is embarking on a historic journey towards the FIFA World Cup 2026, propelled by a convergence of talent, policy changes, and innovative technology: JOHAN PACER. Under the guidance of head coach Stanley Menzo and performance coach Michiel Ten Haken, the team is navigating a path towards international prominence, transcending barriers that once hindered its ascent.

Policy Shifts and Talent Acquisition

Until 2019, Suriname faced a unique dilemma in attracting top-tier talent to its national team. Dutch football players of Surinamese descent were eligible to represent Suriname but at the cost of relinquishing their Dutch passport and associated rights in the Netherlands. Understandably, this deterred players from committing to Suriname. However, President Bouterse’s pivotal policy change in 2019 removed this obstacle, allowing Dutch-Surinamese players to represent their homeland without sacrificing their Dutch citizenship. This transformative shift opened doors to a wealth of talent previously untapped, elevating the national team’s prospects and igniting renewed hope among supporters. Previous Head Coach Dean Gorre started in 2020 with recruiting players like Warner Hahn, Diego Bisiswar, Tjaronn Chery and Kelvin Leerdam.

Photo: Guus Dubbelman

Focusing on Fitness and Performance

As the team sets its sights on the World Cup, it has embraced state-of-the-art technology to optimize player performance and fitness. Enter the new system of JOHAN Sports: PACER, a cutting-edge GPS technology worn by players during training and matches. This wearable device (developed by Demcon) meticulously tracks vital metrics such as distance covered, speed, and heart rate, providing real-time data insights into player workload and physical condition. For a national team composed of players from diverse club backgrounds, JOHAN PACER serves as an invaluable tool for monitoring and managing player fitness, ensuring each individual is primed for peak performance on the global stage.

Unity in Diversity: Football as a Catalyst for National Pride

Suriname’s footballing journey transcends the confines of the pitch, serving as a unifying force for the nation. Regardless of cultural or social differences, the national team’s progress towards the World Cup has galvanized the Surinamese people, fostering a sense of collective pride and identity. Each victory, each milestone achieved, resonates deeply with the nation, reaffirming Suriname’s place in the global footballing fraternity.

Photo: Guus Dubbelman

Looking Ahead: A Vision for Success

As the World Cup gets closer, Suriname’s Football team is full of hope and determination. Last Sunday the team played a friendly match against Martinique in the Yanmar Stadion of Almere City. The match ended in 1-1, with Justin Lonwijk scoring the only goal for Suriname. Not the best start for Stanley Menzo, but the foundation is there. The first goal is to qualify for the Gold Cup of 2025. After that, the glorious World Cup of 2026 in the US, Mexico and Canada.

Photo’s: Guus Dubbelman