My Team & I: Ajax Cape Town


By Paul Giess

Twitter: @ItsStillAyoba


Why Ajax Cape Town?

I have supported Walsall all my life but when I moved to South Africa in 2007 I knew it was going to be hard to keep up with action on the other side of the world. Friends advised me that this was golden opportunity to ditch my lowly hometown team and adopt a high flying South African alternative. Having spent so much of my life trudging around the lower leagues here was a chance to latch onto some serious glory.

So how do you start choosing a new team in a new land? I initially looked at Moroka Swallows – a top flight side in South Africa who have an almost identical club badge to Walsall. The connection seemed obvious but they play in Soweto which is a 2 hour flight from home in Cape Town. I strongly believe in backing your local side – why else spend so much of my life at Bescot Stadium?

So I have tried hard to find an empathy with Ajax Cape Town – the only local side to actually take the city’s name. Ajax are not bad to watch, it is cheap to get in and they have a loyal and cheerful support. They are also giving it a serious go at making the Cape Town World Cup stadium their home having taken some hefty financial losses from initially poorly attended games. The issue of the stadiums being underused post event is a big one in South Africa so all respect to Ajax for trying to sustain the facility.

Gradually they have got under my skin. Last weekend I found myself jumping from my seat and screaming like a banshee for a penalty. It was as I sat back down that it suddenly hit me – I had started to care. In fact I now realize I care a lot.

Favourite Player?

Tempting to say Terror Fanteni just because of the really cool name but in fact the best player in the squad is Thulani Serero. He plays a sort of Leo Messi role off the main striker and has similar tricky footwork. It was Serero who was brought down for the penalty last weekend, which got me off my feet and realizing I was becoming hooked. For the record the penalty was given and we scored. Good job because Seraro is not the best finisher and a disappointing punt into the stands was beckoning.


Favourite Game?

Everyone in South Africa seems to support Kaizer Chiefs – they are a national institution. Ajax beat them in Cape Town this season for the first time in eight years in a game played at Cape Town Stadium. With the large distances and travel expense involved it is very unusual to get a good away following in our league games but with so many Chiefs fans in Cape Town this was different. The atmosphere was electric and honestly far better than all eight of the World Cup games I attended here. We don’t do crowd segregation here so everyone was mixed in together but there is never a hint of trouble. Just dancing, vuvuzela blowing and Mexican waves. It was never like this at Walsall.

Favourite Strip?

As the name suggests Ajax Cape Town are linked with Ajax Amsterdam. They are one of the Dutch giants many feeder clubs in their international network. This means there is only one kit – the familiar red and white Ajax shirt. It is copied exactly including the badge which simply has the word “Amsterdam’ replaced with ‘Cape Town’.


Worst Thing About Being An Ajax Cape Town Fan?

That formal link mentioned above. You can be sure that any decent up and coming player will eventually be sucked up into Dutch football. For example Steven Pienaar made his way into the Premiership via Ajax Amsterdam via Ajax Cape Town. Thulani Seraro is now on the Dutch radar. He has already attended trials there last summer and is scheduled to go again as soon as our league finishes. I fear he will not be coming back our way.

Funniest Moment?

The link with Ajax Amsterdam is recriprical. We send them our best young, hungry and talented footballers and they send us their washed out lunatics in return.

There is none crazier that the 42 year old veteran goalkeeper Hans Vonk who is the angriest man I have personally seen on a football pitch. He races from his goal to get in the referee’s face, Roy Keane style, several times a game. When a penalty was given to Ajax recently he sprinted from his 6 yard box to the opposition area in a matter of seconds to demand a red card for the guilty defender. The defender got yellow and so did Vonk. He was still arguing about it to teammates in the centre circle as our striker ran up and took the kick. Fortunately it went in as a decent save could have seen him stranded by a breakaway.

Favourite Moment?

This is yet to come. Ajax Cape Town currently lie second in the South African Premier League. The team is good enough to win the title and if they do it creates a unique situation for me. Like every Walsall fan I have absolutely no comprehension of how to accept winning your national league title. I want to know how this feels but should it happen it might be a very confusing and surreal time for me.

One Response to “My Team & I: Ajax Cape Town”

  1. Excellent work! keep the posts coming! Thanks

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