Ajax has had a majority stake in Ajax Cape Town in South Africa since 1999. In the ‘Message from Cape Town’ column, we feature the African Ajax team each week. In the seventh edition of the 2012-2013 season, we take a look at the many good causes that Ajax Cape Town supports, such as the recent ‘Blisters for Bread’.
Ajax Cape Town’s selection does frequent and intense work for the Cape Town community. The club is very conscientious of some of its players’ backgrounds, and of that of many of the city’s other residents. The selection recently participated in the charity run called ‘Blisters for Bread’. The run has been held for the last 43 years and attracted more than 15.400 people. The revenues – from sponsoring and participants’ registration fee – will be given directly to the Peninsular School Feeding Association (PSFA). The magnitude of the program is made clear by the fact that it supplies bread to more than 300.000 children on a daily basis.
“I think this is the first time that Ajax Cape Town has participated with the entire selection”, says coach Maarten Stekelenburg, who ran ten kilometers himself. “It worked out well with our agenda this time, because we’d played a game on the previous Friday and the run was on Sunday. The initiative is cohesive with Ajax Cape Town’s philosophy. Everyone knows how important it is that children have breakfast before they go to school. Because of some of the players’ backgrounds, we know how difficult that is for some people.”
The run took the participants through Cape Town’s nicest neighborhoods. “The run didn’t go through the lesser areas”, says Stekelenburg. “That was probably for safety reasons. I can imagine that the organization would question a run through the Townships. But on the other hand, then you’d be seeing who you’re doing it for. The route was a nice one to run.”
The other participants reacted well to Ajax Cape Town taking part. “It’s great to be among the crowd on a day like this. The players took many pictures with people and got good feedback from the crowd. Whether we run next year or not depends on the game schedule. It worked out well this time because the game was on Friday, but if we play on Sunday, then we can’t do this. It’s a super event and I like that we can give something back. By taking part in an event like this, you create awareness. When you travel a lot and stay in nice hotels, you forget sometimes what life is like for many in Cape Town.”
Besides taking part in the run, Ajax Cape Town has recently been visiting many schools, focusing on young kids. “It seems that many supporters used to get indoctrinated with Pirates or Chiefs at a young age”, says Stekelenburg, referring to two other South African clubs. “To make the Ajax Cape Town brand stronger, we’ve been focusing on the young kids, and that’s working. We’ve noticed that we’re connecting with them.”
*The Zimbabwean international Khame Billiat from Ajax Cape Town scored in the 3-1 interland victory for his country and was voted Man of the Match.