Ajax are pleased to have Calvin Marlin despite missing out on Benni McCarthy
DURBAN – Ajax Cape Town have confirmed that they were interested in capturing the services of Benni McCarthy, but they are now happy that Calvin Marlin is at the helm.
Former Bafana Bafana star McCarthy is currently unemployed after he was sacked by Cape Town City at the end of last year. Marlin took over the coaching reins at Ajax after the sudden departure of Andries Ulderink.
Ajax chairman, Ari Efstathiou, revealed that they were keen to hire McCarthy, but the move never materialised.
“Yes, we had a chat with Benni. We engaged him when our coach left. There were a few coaches that we thought might fit the bill and we did speak to Benni but unfortunately it didn’t work out,” Efstathiou told Independent Media.
The Urban Warriors were at the top of the GladAfrica Championship standings before the coronavirus pandemic halted sporting activities across the globe.
“I think the decision that we made to put Calvin in that position has worked. We’ve had great results since,” said Efstathiou.
The iconic and enigmatic McCarthy is arguably one of the most successful South African exports. He has already demonstrated that his skills as a coach matches those of his talent on the pitch, leading the Citizens to glory by winning the MTN8 in 2018.
Rumours have been rife that the relationship between Ajax Cape Town and Ajax Amsterdam is set to end, but Efstathiou clarified the situation.
“I think we had a disagreement regarding the Hans Vonk situation. We maintained that we did the right thing and not favouring anybody specific. We didn’t want to come across as if we are favouring our Dutch employees more than our South African employees. We did what we needed to do. Yes, there are robust discussions in the boardroom but a decision hasn’t been made,” Efstathiou said.
With most clubs in South Africa implementing salary cuts, Ajax are wary about taking such a decision with the team top of the log and close to promotion back into the PSL.
“Very few clubs are independent, maybe Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and then you’ve got those that have wealthy owners like SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns. But the remainder of other clubs are supported by their shareholders and the shareholders’ businesses. This is going to have a serious effect on clubs.
"At Ajax, we are trying not to implement these salary cuts. We are going to be in a situation where players will be going back to try and win the league. We have to make sure that they are well motivated. They are aware of what is going (on) but mentally it affects everybody.” Efstathiou said.