Cape Town - There’s an oft-used aphorism that suggests another year older translates into another year wiser.
That may be so - but, if that were the case, then Ajax Cape Town should surely, by now, have gotten to grips with the perennial problems that continue to bedevil the club’s progress.
Reality, though, is a cruel monster.
At the weekend, Ajax ended yet another season mired in disappointment and despair when they were hammered 3-0 by Platinum Stars.
It resulted in an ugly 12th place finish in the PSL, far below the ambitious Cape club’s expectations.
Take into consideration that last season they barely managed to stave off relegation, and it’s abundantly evident that things aren’t looking too rosy out in Parow.
On Wednesday night, Ajax celebrate their 15th year of existence with a snazzy function at Century City, to coincide with their end-of-season awards presentation.
Looking back to their inception in 1999, it’s axiomatic that everybody at the club is quite disillusioned that they have not yet won the league title. They went close on two occasions, but that’s about it.
On the field of play, the last few years have resulted in nothing but frustration and displeasure.
So, after another season of dissatisfaction and, needless to say, some mortification at times, what about next season?
Roger de Sa was excited and confident when appointed as Ajax coach about three months ago. He was happy to be back in the Mother City, waxing lyrical about the mountain, the weather, and the success of the Cape club’s youth academy.
But having, during this period, torn out his hair in frustration at his team’s inconsistency, injury woes, and embarrassing form on the road, De Sa knows that, next season, he’s going to have to forget about the climate and all the beautiful scenery in Cape Town. The former Wits and Orlando Pirates coach certainly has his hands full at Ajax.
By now, he probably realises that this job is a great deal more challenging than what he initially thought.
De Sa may now be going on holiday after Ajax’s last fixture on Saturday, but it’s not going to be too enjoyable a break.
The Ajax coach knows he will have to get back early to plan properly and think carefully about the way forward next season.
The squad certainly needs some thinking about. While there are a number of talented young stars in the squad, experience and quality are needed in a few departments. A dominant central midfielder, a reliable goal-getter and a one or two footballers with personality and individual skill are among the requirements.
There have often been games when Ajax have held their own, but lacked an individual capable of unlocking defences, a player able to change the course of a game with one moment of individual brilliance. While football is a team game, there’s no doubt that Ajax need something a bit more unpredictable in the squad.
The club’s youth academy remains the flagship, with promising young footballers regularly rolling off its conveyor belt of talent.
As commendable as that is, it’s about time that Ajax realise the PSL team urgently needs some success.
It’s no use the youngsters excelling at junior level, but everything falling apart when they get to the top-flight.
Mother club Ajax Amsterdam are a perfect example. The Dutch side’s youth academy remains the envy of the football world, but its Eredivisie squad continues to win title after title, trophy after trophy.
Ajax CT are nowhere near that... and therein lies the rub.