JOHANNESBURG – Ajax Cape Town’s majority shareholder, Ajax Amsterdam, thought about pulling out of the country due to the protracted Tendai Ndoro saga which has tarnished the Urban Warriors and Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) image.
The Dutch giants own 51% of the Urban Warriors in an investment that has helped refine a lot of talent not only in the Mother City but in the rest of the country and across the continent. Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou revealed yesterday at the South Gauteng High Court that Ajax Amsterdam considered ending that partnership due to the protracted court cases between the Cape side and the PSL.
“Ajax are fully supportive of our process,” Efstathiou said. “We couldn’t have done this without them supporting us. We keep them informed on a daily basis. To be frank, they have been very disappointed with what has happened. They were contemplating their position, not with us but being in South African football. But they decided to stick with it and they are fully supportive of the process.”
Efstathiou’s report back to Ajax Amsterdam yesterday would have featured news of their urgent interdict to stop the start of the 2018/19 season being postponed to tomorrow. Ajax had no choice but to stand down on their interdict because they got the papers from the PSL on the eve of their appearance in front of Judge Mudau.
The matter will now be heard tomorrow; but before the interdict is heard, at 11:30am, Judge Denise Fisher will hear the PSL’s leave of appeal of her judgement to set aside Advocate William Mokhari’s ruling on the Ndoro saga at 9:30am.
Mokhari, serving as a Safa arbitrator, found the Urban Warriors guilty on five charges of misconduct arising from their fielding the ineligible Ndoro who had already played for two teams before the Cape side. Mokhari’s ruling awarded three points to SuperSport United, Polokwane City and Platinum Stars from the matches they faced Ajax with Ndoro on the field. That ruling moved Ajax from 15th to automatic relegation on 16th place.
Ajax fought that sanction and Judge Fisher gave them a lifeline by setting aside Mokhari’s ruling, arguing that Mokhari didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on Ndoro’s eligibility and referred the matter to the Fifa Player’s Status Committee. This has resulted in a long drawn-out saga that started after Ajax fielded Ndoro against Dikwena on January 12.
“This process has been hard on us emotionally more than financially, to be honest,” Efstathiou said. “It’s now five months of fighting and trying to get some justice from where we feel we have certain rights. I think that it’s starting to take a toll on everybody.
We can’t buy players, we can’t sell players, we can’t fix the team and we’ve got to motivate the players, staff and the technical team. Everybody at the club is in limbo. It’s not something that should have taken this long. It should have been dealt with sooner.”
Efstathiou has resigned himself to the fact that this whole process will have an effect on his club’s performance regardless of where they play in the upcoming season. But he will not back down.
“We can’t get more than what we are supposed to get,” Efstathiou said. “We can’t ask for anything else than being allowed to play in the play-offs. That’s our position. If the play-offs can’t be played, then we must look at the best alternative and the best alternative for us is to be in the PSL. But we can’t demand that.
The only thing that we can demand, based on Judge Fisher’s judgement, is to be 15th.”