UK-bound: Rivaldo Coetzee joins a long list of prominent footballers whose careers were launched at Ajax Cape Town. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX
UK-bound: Rivaldo Coetzee joins a long list of prominent footballers whose careers were launched at Ajax Cape Town. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX

Rivaldo Coetzee’s move to Glasgow Celtic is another feather in the cap of the Ajax Cape Town development structures, which must rank as the best in the country given the number of players they have produced.

Ajax have agreed a fee with Celtic for the 20-year-old Bafana Bafana defender‚ who will complete the transfer this week subject to a medical and work permit application.

No figures have been released‚ but it is understood the transfer fee is in the region of £750‚000 for the footballer who arrived in the Mother City from Kakamas in the Northern Cape at the age of 15.

The Urban Warriors’ mandate as a club‚ handed down by 51% co-owner Ajax Amsterdam‚ is to produce young players for the European market. Despite a hit-and-miss record‚ they have done that comfortably more than any other South African side. Here are some players they have developed who have gone on to play in Europe‚ mostly with success.

Steven Pienaar: Played at Ajax Amsterdam‚ Borussia Dortmund‚ Everton‚ Tottenham Hotspur‚ Sunderland

Ajax’s greatest export was their first‚ with Pienaar becoming a genuine star on the European scene‚ most notably in Amsterdam and at Everton.

He has returned to play for Bidvest Wits this season.

Stanton Lewis: Played at Ajax Amsterdam

Striker Lewis left for Amsterdam in the 2006-07 season, but never played a first-team game in his two-and-a-half seasons there. He later returned to Cape Town and played at Kaizer Chiefs‚ AmaZulu‚ Lamontville Golden Arrows and Chippa United before being injured.

Daylon Claasen: Played at Ajax Amsterdam‚ Lierse‚ Lech Poznan‚ 1860 Munich

Claasen never quite hit the heights many expected of him, but had a solid enough career in Europe that was at times disrupted through injury. He twice missed out on moves to the English Premiership because of these.

He is back in SA at Wits, potentially entering the prime of his career at the age of 27.

Bryce Moon: Played at Panathinaikos‚ PAOK

Moon was a product of the Safa School of Excellence who later joined the Ajax academy and after three fine seasons in the PSL, joined Greek giants Panathinaikos in 2008‚ and PAOK later. There is no doubt his career was affected by the incident in which a pedestrian was killed by the car Moon was driving in 2009. Soon afterwards, he returned to SA to play for Golden Arrows‚ SuperSport United‚ Wits and, most recently, Maritzburg United.

Eyong Enoh: Played at Ajax Amsterdam‚ Fulham‚ Antalyaspor‚ Standard Liege

Although not a product of the Ajax youth system‚ Cameroon midfielder Enoh developed quickly at the club after arriving from Turkish/Cypriot side Türk Ocagi Limasol in 2006.

He had a fine stay in Amsterdam‚ played in the English Premier League at Fulham and is a free agent after leaving top Belgian outfit Standard Liege at the end of last season.

Thulani Serero: Played in Holland at Ajax Amsterdam and Vitesse Arnhem

Serero was for a time a key man at Amsterdam before the club’s policy of promoting youth meant that even at the age of 26, he was viewed as over the hill.

He can be proud of his achievements with the side over six seasons after joining in 2011‚ and is currently rebuilding his reputation at Vitesse Arnhem‚ where he has started the new season superbly.

Seydouba Soumah: Played at FC Nitra‚ Slovan Bratislava‚ Al-Qadsia‚ Partizan Belgrade

Soumah’s story is a remarkable one. He was spotted as a 13-year-old juggling a ball by then Ajax owner John Comitis while the club was at an away Caf clash in Guinea and was brought to Cape Town.

He had various loan spells before joining FC Nitra in Slovakia in 2012.

Soumah was an instant hit in that country and signed for giants Slovan Bratislava, where he became the key man in the Slovakian side.

Soumah has recently taken another step up to Partizan Belgrade for this season and scored in the Uefa Champions League qualifiers against Olympiakos earlier in August.

Other current players developed by Ajax who have gone on to star in the Premier Soccer League‚ and in Europe via other domestic clubs include Cole Alexander‚ Nazeer Allie‚ Khama Billiat‚ Franklin Cale‚ Clayton Daniels‚ Thulani Hlatshwayo‚ Moeneeb Josephs‚ George Maluleka‚ Lebogang Manyama and Granwald Scott.


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