Cape Town - Ajax Amsterdam are on a collision course with their franchise club in the Mother City, Ajax Cape Town, with a senior official from the Dutch club saying they would “get out” even if it costs them financially.
The latest upheaval at the Cape PSL team, which resulted in Turkish coach Muhsin Ertugral being installed as head coach, does not sit well with the Dutch mother club.
On Monday, Ajax Amsterdam’s director of football, Marc Overmars, a former star winger at Arsenal in England, said: “They seem to have forgotten that we have 51 percent of the shares.”
Overmars’ anger stems from last week’s drama at Ajax Cape Town.
The Parow-based side is in a desperate fight against relegation.
In order to bring some direction, and aid in the quest for points, the Cape directors believed that bringing in Ertugral for his third spell at the club would be a stabilising influence. The Turk has an encyclopaedic knowledge of football and conditions in the PSL, including the strengths and weaknesses of players, coaches and even referees. The intention was to bring Ertugral in as a technical director to assist the then-head coach, Dutchman Jan Versleijen.
Versleijen, though, was unhappy with the manner in which Ajax Cape Town had gone about things and last week resigned his post with immediate effect. It was this development that infuriated Ajax Amsterdam, with Overmars adding: “That Ajax Cape Town created a position at the club of technical director to go above the coach without consulting us creates a big problem. We are not happy about it.
“We will be examining the situation and our relationship in the coming months. There are various options for us. If it costs us money to get out, then we don’t care.”
Ajax Cape Town, though, have not been overly concerned with Overmars’ comments.
“It’s not a worry,” said Ajax Cape Town chief executive George Comitis. “It’s a big decision and Ajax Amsterdam won’t be able to just do so. We are well covered by our contract with the Dutch team. Until such a time when the new regime in charge of Ajax Amsterdam comes to Cape Town to see what’s happening here, it’s rather pointless to discuss anything.”
Ajax Amsterdam are now under new leadership, which includes former football great Johan Cruyff.
Comitis added that, as far as Ajax Cape Town were concerned, this was a matter to be discussed in the boardroom.
“We are obviously not happy that Marc Overmars felt it better to go public with his thoughts on the matter,” said Comitis. “But I am not going to retaliate in kind. Suffice to say, I think that Overmars should reserve his opinion until he decides to visit Cape Town.”
Comitis added that, in any case, when it came to the club appointing Ertugral, Ajax Amsterdam had no say in the final decision.
“There were discussions with Ajax Amsterdam and they felt that Versleijen should be allowed to stay on,” said the Cape club’s chief executive. “Contractually, the management committee in Cape Town makes the final decision. On that management committee, I represent Ajax Amsterdam. And we decided that Ertugral would be good for the team. We wanted him to work alongside Versleijen and offer his experience and advice from many years of working in the PSL. Unfortunately, Versleijen chose to resign.”
As an example, of Ertugral’s knowledge, Comitis pointed to last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chippa.
Ertugral’s paperwork wasn’t ready in time and he could not be registered with the PSL, which is why he wasn’t on the bench.
In charge were the two assistants, Dutchman Jan Pruijn and former Bafana Bafana left-back David Nyathi.
After Ajax wing Abia Nale was yellow carded, Ertugral, in the stands, sent a message to the bench that they should substitute Nale as he ran the risk of being red-carded. Pruijn delayed and, soon after, as Ertugral predicted, Nale was sent off after picking up a second booking.
And Chippa fought back to draw 1-1 against 10-man Ajax Cape Town.
Comitis said it was premature to talk of Ajax Amsterdam pulling out. The opinion of one official at the Dutch club was not enough to trigger such a major change.
* October 1998 – A merger is signed between two Cape clubs – Seven Stars and Cape Town Spurs. Rob Moore, the owner of Seven Stars, is in the Netherlands to conclude the transfer of the club’s hot striker, Benni McCarthy, to Ajax Amsterdam. It is during this time that Ajax Amsterdam float the idea of a Football Academy in South Africa.
* 1999 – Ajax Amsterdam accept the proposal to back the two merged clubs, and a satellite club, Ajax Cape Town, is formed.
* July 17, 1999 – Ajax Cape Town play their first official match, in the Iwisa Charity Spectacular in Joburg, where they beat Kaizer Chiefs 1-0.
* August 1999 – First season in the PSL, with Dutchman Leo van Veen as coach.
* 2001 – Ajax win the Rothmans Cup, the club’s first piece of silverware.
* 2003/2004 – Ajax finish the season in second position.
* 2005 – Compete in the intercontinental competition, the CAF Cup, and end up losing in the quarter-finals.
* 2007 – Absa Cup champions.
* 2008 – Win the Telkom Knockout Cup.
* January 2010 – Ajax and Santos play a derby match to officially open the city’s World Cup stadium in Green Point.
* 2010-2011 – Dutch coach Foppe de Haan transforms the team, and they lose out on the league title on the final day of the season.
* April 26, 2013 – Dutch coach Jan Versleijen resigns, unhappy with the appointment of Muhsin Ertugral as technical director.