Yagan Sasman has earned most of his game time with Ajax's Multichoice Diski Challenge side. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/Backpagepix
CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town have often been accused of being “a selling club”. For many, this is the reason why the Cape PSL club has a good cup record, but struggles in the longer format of a league campaign.

But, even if this is so, if fingers have to be pointed at anything, it’s the club’s highly successful youth academy. Because they churn out so many good young footballers year after year, it has, in fact, become a double-edged sword. As soon as these Ajax youngsters impress in the PSL, the club has to move them on because there is another crop of burgeoning kids itching for an opportunity.

Earlier this season, Ajax sold Abbubaker Mobara and Riyaad Norodien to Orlando Pirates. At the end of this campaign, they will find themselves in a similar situation with defenders Rivaldo Coetzee and Mosa Lebusa. Both are in demand.

Again, though, the next bunch of talented youngsters is already waiting. One such player is left-back Yagan Sasman. And, because he has proven that he is more than ready, he would be able to fill the gap should the Cape club decide to cash in on Lebusa.

Lebusa’s ability and leadership would be a great loss. But that is the nature of the game. Players move on, they need new and bigger challenges. For Ajax, however, there is never a major vacuum when a player departs - the next promising lad can easily be penned on to the team sheet.

For example, when Lebusa was injured earlier this month, Sasman was handed his Ajax senior debut by coach Stanley Menzo in a daunting fixture, away to in-form, star-studded SuperSport United. But there was no need for concern, Sasman, 20, rose to the challenge in a mature fashion as the Capetonians battled to a gritty 0-0 draw with one of the favourites for the PSL title this season. Menzo was suitably impressed.

Ajax swing back into PSL action with an away game against Maritzburg United on Saturday night (8.15pm) - and, with Lebusa recovered from injury, Sasman will again play second fiddle. But, at least, Menzo knows the young defender is ready for the step-up in class.

Sasman is from Retreat and attended Norman Henshilwood High School in Constantia. He started his career at Peninsula United in Grassy Park before joining the Ajax academy at the age of 10. He was drafted into the Ajax PSL squad two years ago.

He says it's the experience gained playing for the Reserve Team in the Diski Challenge that has allowed him to grow and mature his game.

“The new league has been valuable in allowing players like myself to get game time, build experience and gain confidence.

“(So) I was ready and I think I did well in my (PSL) debut.”

Two years ago Sasman went for a training spell at Ajax Amsterdam. His partner on that Dutch trip was Bafana Bafana defender Coetzee, and he’s hoping to follow in his teammate’s footsteps soon.

“For me, it was much easier when coach Menzo took over because I understood his style and approach because of his Ajax Amsterdam background. I knew what he wanted from us as players and that, I think, helped me when he needed someone to step in (for) Mosa.”

Now Sasman is focused on making sure that the coach knows he’s around, and always prepared. "The coach knows what I can do ”

PSL fixtures:

Saturday: SuperSport v Baroka; Golden Arrows v Highlands Park; FS Stars v Orlando Pirates; Wits v Plat Stars; Kaizer Chiefs v Sundowns; Maritzburg v Ajax CT (Harry Gwala, 8.15pm)

Sunday: Polokwane City v Bloemfontein Celtic

Monday: Cape Town City v Chippa United (Athlone Stadium, 7.30pm)

Cape Argus