Thulani Serero (21) is officially an Ajax player as of last Monday. The South African is enjoying his first days with the team. He’s learning Dutch traditions in De Lutte. He also hasn’t forgotten how to ride a bicycle.
There is lots of laughing at the end of the training. The ‘rookies’ have lost to the ‘veterans’ during a session of keep away. And they will be punished appropriately on this Thursday morning. The losers will get a baptism by fire, so to speak. So the rookies take turns, bent over in the goal, waiting for the winners to fire the ball at them. Thulani Serero was on the losing side and shares in this fate. To his great relief, Siem de Jong is the only one who scores on an unfortunate Dico Koppers. “I was pretty lucky”, says Serero later on, at the edge of the field. “It’s a fun game. We do it in South Africa too.”
Serero is enjoying his first week as an Ajax player. As a former Ajax Cape Town player, he’s been wearing red and white for several years, but the Ajax Amsterdam kit feels different. “It’s a higher level here, the club is bigger. Everything’s different. Fortunately, Ajax wasn’t totally new for me, because I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times on an internship.”
Now that Serero will settle in the Netherlands, he’s going to have to get used to some Dutch habits. He’s already mastered the art of riding a bicycle, as he shows this week in De Lutte. The Ajax players ride mountain bikes every day near De Bloemenbeek, to and from the SV De Lutte practice fields. “I’ve been able to practice quite a bit”, says Serero. “I rode a bike in South Africa when I was a kid, but people don’t ride there as much as we do here. Everyone rides here.”
The attacking midfielder saw action on Wednesday night during the practice match against AZSV, which Ajax won. He noticed that we moved more freely on the field than during his internships with Ajax. “Now that I’ve earned a contract, I’m sure that Ajax has faith in me. I obviously need to prove myself every day, but it makes a big difference now that I’m here to stay.”