Sep 01, 2022
Lenny Netteb, Street Football Legend, how does it feel to be legend status and what insights can you provide for the youth who aim to reach this level?
People call me a legend and to be honest it makes me a bit shy because only then and through Daily Paper you can now fully see and feel what our generation and I have meant for street football and football in general. But I really just feel like a youngster with a great talent and experience, surrounded by people who have a lot of respect and appreciation for that and make me happy again. That's actually how I feel!
Just as I respect anyone else in a similar position actually I respect everyone even better I have a lot of respect for Jefferson Osei, Abderrahmane Trabsini and Hussein Suleiman for what these men have already achieved.
Football overall has an all-too-often unrecognised power to unite communities, break down social barriers and act as a genuine force for good. How much do you feel street football in particular has contributed to this?
Is absolutely correct what you say street football is a connection piece a very important and crucial one because respect is at the top of the streets and therefore also in street football so if you are opposite each other then respect is between the two and that connects quickly very quickly.
As soon as we showed what we could do at home and abroad and told who we were, the ice was immediately broken and we immediately felt the respect.
We’ve seen and watched you many times balling in the streets of Amsterdam. What’s your connection with this city and whats your fondest memory of living here?
Amsterdam is and will remain my city and no matter how crazy it sounds you have to be an Amsterdammer for that ok to understand that because you can't explain that but you have to have that with you. The streets of Amsterdam are courses that you always pass if you put in enough hours and I'm talking purely about the positive sides of life. The social skills of being sure of yourself, self-confidence and people skills are fundamental poles that will flow through your blood through life on the streets and you become sharp or sharper in life!
My fondest memory of Amsterdam is when I met my wife in Amsterdam and my youth and generation. What a fantastic but really fantastic generation and youth I have experienced.
How have your roots defined you?
My roots have defined me by having respect for older people from our Surinamese culture and bringing fun into the group by having that from home. Working hard to achieve something I was also told that you have to work 2 sometimes 3 times as hard to achieve something than the Dutch without discriminating, but it is once the case that we are not given anything, we with a non-white colour in this world. And even then I respect the white people but work very hard to ensure that I remain my own boss.
If you could speak to the younger Lenny, what would you say to him?
If I were talking to the younger Lenny I would tell him that you should not only learn from your mistakes but apply the answers from your mistakes so that you don't get into annoying repetitions that can ruin important things for your future. Wisdom means applying your knowledge and you can measure that with your results otherwise you are just smart.
Street football reflects the city and the neighbourhoods where it’s played. Multicultural cities like Amsterdam, London, Paris and beyond blur the boundaries between art, music and fashion to create something new. Football is a key part of this layered lifestyle. Where do you see street football in the next 5 years?
I see street football on TV worldwide in 5 years and all the way through what Daily Paper has launched. There will be high level street football tournaments again, only then on TV. This boost has brought so much more respect and breathed new life into the culture and heart of street football and the people around it and certainly in the old guard. I already have a lot of ideas for the future that I will definitely do something with.
For young boys and girls who want to get involved in street football, what initiatives are out there for them to check out?
For the new generation of boys and girls there is unfortunately little original street football, but on the other hand a lot of new. Streetkings is the platform of Edward v Gils my partner in Crime hahaha!! Fortunately, he still guarded a lot, so there is still some raw street football to be found. But Daily Paper has motivated me to make a difference in the future of today's street football, so I'll come back to this.
I also would like to add that I was so honoured to be part of this Daily Paper x Ajax project! Jefferson always says “Lenny thanks for giving us this, you are a legend" but Jefferson and the team are my heroes because people with such reach as theirs are often not among the people and these guys stand between us like they just came to watch. They are very down to earth and I've found them to be so pure and in touch with the people! They stand for the people and that is fantastic!