at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Cape Town – Muhsin Ertugral admits that there is more to his decision to quit Ajax Cape Town than meets the eye.
Ertugral and Ajax parted ways on Thursday morning, only a few days before the team resumes their league duties against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Monday night.
Ertugral’s assistant Ian Taylor has been appointed interim coach until the board appoints a new one.
Ertugral is the second member of the technical staff to leave Ajax in the last few months, after the head of technical affairs Jan Pruijn was recently fired.
“My resignation is not just what has been put out in public,” Ertugral said on Thursday. “But I really don’t want to get into it, because of my respect for the club.”
Asked if he had some advice for his former employers, Ertugral said: “Please sign some strikers.”
Ertugral and the Urban Warriors released a statement yesterday morning which said that Ertugral quit for “personal reasons” following the death of his foster father, who passed away in Turkey on Christmas Day.
Ertugral, who was supposed to be back in Cape Town in the first week of January after the Christmas break, only arrived on January 18 after the club granted him some compassionate leave.
However, the Cape Times understands that the Turk has not been happy with Ajax’s non-activity in the transfer market so far. Ertugral was also unhappy after the club let star strikers Mabhuti Khenyeza, Abia Nale, Khama Billiat and Lebogang Manyama go in the last six months.
Despite the loss of these players, Ertugral managed to finish the first half of the season in the top eight after a poor start which saw them collect only six points from their first seven matches.
Ajax executive director Ari Efstathiou played with a straight bat when asked about the claims, and Ajax’s policy of letting go of their best players while only replacing them with players from the youth academy.
“The reality is when you ask a coach do you need more players, he will say ‘Yes, get me as many as you can’,” Efstathiou said
“But I don’t think that was the main reason (for Ertugral quitting). It was obviously a concern … we are all concerned that we haven’t done much in the transfer window. We have obviously lost Lebo, but that is all we have lost. The squad hasn’t really changed from where we progressed in the first half of the season.
“But, yes, we definitely must look at strengthening the squad in the next seven days.”
Ertugral, who was in his third stint at Ajax, took over from Dutchman Jan Versleijen for the last four matches of the previous campaign with Ajax staring down the relegation barrel. He worked his magic to save Ajax from the drop, only to resign six months later.
Ertugral said yesterday he will be in South Africa for the next 10 days before returning to Istanbul to finalise a few personal issues. But he will be back soon after that.
“I love South Africa and this will always be my home. But I first want to attend to my family’s needs in Turkey and then I will make a decision on my future,” Ertugral added.
Taylor, a former Federation Professional League (FPL) player, has the advantage of having been in charge of the team over the last three weeks while Ertugral has been away. But the former versatile right-sided player is wary of the challenges ahead.
“It’s a big challenge for me stepping up, but I think the last three weeks have been good. It’s sort of prepared me, although I didn’t expect it, for the time ahead,” Taylor said.
“Pirates will obviously be a tough game, but it will be a good gauge for me and the team going forward.”
Besides travelling to Pirates on Monday, Ajax have a tough fixture list to negotiate over the next month.
The Urban Warriors face AmaZulu away from home on Tuesday, February 4, before hosting Wits three days later. Ajax then play Mamelodi Sundowns on February 15.
Leo van Veen (1999-00), Henk Bodewes (2000-01), Rob McDonald (2001-02), Gordon Igesund (2002-06), Muhsin Ertugral (2006-07), Craig Rosslee (2007-09), Muhsin Ertugral (2009), Foppe de Haan (2009-11), Maarten Stekelenburg (2011-12), Jan Versleijen (2013), Muhsin Ertugral (2013-14)