Ronald Koeman is an ambassador for the Johan Cruyff Foundation and launched the latest Cruyff Court in Gugulethu on Wednesday. Photo: Rodney Reiners

CAPE TOWN – Ronald Koeman, in his capacity as an ambassador for the Johan Cruyff Foundation, officially opened the new Cruyff Court at the Nobantu Primary School in Gugulethu on Wednesday afternoon.

The former Ajax Amsterdam, Southampton and Everton manager, who was coached by the legendary Cruyff as a player, said he was honoured to play a part in continuing the great man’s legacy.

“Johan (Cruyff) did so many good things on the pitch and off it, like his foundation is now doing,” said Koeman. “There are 240 Cruyff Courts across the world, and we will continue to contribute to this great foundation.

“Sport provides an opportunity for kids to develop, and we are trying to make the future brighter for them. This court (in Gugulethu) is a chance for kids to play football and to play together.”

Ilja van Holsteyn, the manager of Cruyff Courts around the world, explained: “The Foundation believes that active children move up. It’s important to have a decent pitch to play on, to get kids off the street, to keep them active, and to keep them healthy.

“It’s also important that the field is in the heart of the community, so in this way, NGOs can work with uplifting the social skills of the children too; the aim being to use football as a tool to develop kids both physically and socially.”

Ronald Koeman speaks at the launch of the Cruyff Court in Gugulethu. Video: Rodney Reiners

The Cruyff Court in Gugulethu was established with the assistance of Ajax Cape Town – and the Cape club’s Head of Youth Hans Vonk said: “This wonderful court helps the growth of football. Our motto has always been ‘our youth, our future’, and this is a beautiful day where youth and the future come together.”

Ajax chief executive Ari Efstathiou was just as chuffed with his club’s role in assisting children to develop.

“Thank you to the Cruyff Foundation – may this be the first of many courts across Cape Town,” said Efstathiou.

“With this court, kids can see the light in a different way. As a community, as Capetonians, our gratitude cannot be quantified.”

 

IOL Sport