Ajax to use Total Cup as a springboard

Ajax Amsterdam coach Ronald Koeman says that he is hoping to use the tour to South Africa as a springboard to boost his team's confidence ahead of the upcoming UEFA Cup competition in Europe.

The Dutch Giants exited the UEFA Champions League after the first stage, which meant that they will now campaign in the UEFA Cup, and Koeman is focussed on doing well in this competition.

,,We are determined to do well in the UEFA Cup. At the moment we are also lying third in the Dutch league, and we want to defend our title which we won last season", said Koeman, who made his mark in football as a top class defender for Ajax, Barcelona and the Dutch national team.

Asked to comment on Bafana Bafana international Hans Vonk's rise to prominence in the Ajax team, Koeman replied:

,,Vonk was originally bought as a back-up keeper to our two first-choice keepers, but due to these goal keepers sustained injuries, as well as the fact that we changed our playing system about two months ago, Hans has now become the first choice.

,,He is seen as a father-figure to the many young players in our team, who look up to him and his vast experience.''

Koeman said that the team is not in the country on a talent scouting mission, but merely to get themselves in shape for the second half of the season, which kicks off in two weeks time.

,,No, we are not looking to sign players", he said. ,,We have our own talent scouts, while Ajax Cape Town are already running these programmes, so our visit here is primarily to prepare the team for the remainder of the season."

The format for the Total Cup, which also involves Moroka Swallows is as follows:

Ajax Cape Town and Swallows earn three points for a win, two for a score-draw and one for a goalless draw, while Ajax Amsterdam get 1.5 points for a win, one point for a score-draw and half a point for a goalless draw.

By Anthony McLennan, from the official web site of Ajax Cape Town, www.ajaxct.com.