CAPE TOWN – If there’s one thing that’s constant about Ajax Cape Town, then it’s the propensity to regularly produce top-class young footballers.
The team, in general, may be struggling, but the Cape club always has an emerging player to unleash on the PSL.
In a hard-fought 0-0 draw with PSL champions Bidvest Wits in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Ajax unveiled yet another talent in right-back Sirgio Kammies.
With Rheece Evans injured and head coach Stanley Menzo desperate to bring some fresh energy into the team, the 19-year-old Kammies got his big break. And he didn’t disappoint on debut, turning in a solid, eye-catching performance.
Menzo was impressed with the young defender - and, no doubt, he’ll use him again when Ajax host Chippa United at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg tonight (kick-off 8.15pm).
The unavailability of a home venue in the Mother City has led to the bizarre situation where a Cape club has to play a home game in Johannesburg.
Menzo admits it’s not ideal, but he and his men have to put it out of their minds and handle the situation.
Chippa are in fantastic form – currently joint-top on the PSL standings – and Ajax are fully aware that they are in for a tough time tonight. But Menzo is expecting another mature effort from rising youngster Kammies.
“It wasn’t an easy match, he played against a good team, and I paid him a compliment after the match," said Menzo. "Now it’s up to him to make more steps.”
From Elsies River, Kammies attended St Andrews High and Cravenby High and played at Ikapa Sporting before joining the Ajax academy.
He was an influential member of the club’s Under-19 squad that played so excellently on a European tour last year, impressing many overseas scouts with their performances in the NextGen Series in Amsterdam and the Esad Tournament in Breskens.
In that event, the Ajax kids played against top European names like Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven.
Kammies was also a member of the SA U20 sqaud at the junior World Cup in South Korea earlier this year.
Now, he’s looking to continue his progress in the PSL and carve out a successful career as a professional footballer.
There’s still a long way to go, though, and, right now, uppermost in Kammies’ thoughts is to get Ajax on a more stable footing and in a better log position.
Things haven’t really gone Ajax’s way this season, but the coach is confident they aren’t far from turning it all around.
He was particularly happy with the manner in which his team performed against Wits – and he’s looking for the same effort and commitment against Chippa today.
“I can’t tell you whether we will be battling relegation this season, because I don’t know,” said Menzo.
“I’ve always told the players that we have to focus on the things we can do. So, for us, it’s important we stick to the game plan, prepare as well as possible and always give a big effort.”