Ajax Cape Town’s youth academy recently closed its season with a party for the young talents. Just like at de Toekomst in Amsterdam, where the season was closed with the Vanenavond, the trainers in Cape Town also announced individual award winners. Abubaker Mobara (pictured) received the ‘Urban Warrior’ award.
It was not only the youth players who were invited, but the complete first team was present as well. Coach Maarten Stekelenburg encouraged the youth players to pursue their dreams and to go for a spot on the first team. After that, the parents, cheered on by their children, played a match against the technical staff. “After Maarten Stekelenburg had opened, we, as a youth team, gave him a gift and thanked him for his years as head of the academy”, said Corné Groenendijk about the gesture to his predecessor.
After the match, Groenendijk introduced the youth academy to the attendees. Each team’s performance was called out, and after Groenendijk, Ajax Cape Town director George Comtis spoke. He asked the players to follow their Ajax dream and push through to Ajax CT 1, the national team, and Ajax Amsterdam. “The youth’s results were very good”, said Groenendijk. “Except for one team, they all became champions.”
After a great motivational speech from the director, it was time for the most important event of the day: the announcement of Player of the season, per group. A few players per age group had been nominated, and they were not only judged on their football skills, but also on their responsible behaviour off the field. “We had photos on the big screen of all nominees and everyone got thundering applause. That was great to see. The atmosphere was very good, there wasn’t any jealousy. We more reserved in the Netherlands; here, emotions are shown more. There was singing, dancing and it was very joyful.”
Of the winners, the player in the Under 15 category had been in Amsterdam last spring. Justin Jacobus was part of the under 17 team for Cape Town in the AEGON Future Cup. The proud winners received a beautiful bowl to commemorate their win, and they all hope to play in Ajax Cape Town 1 within a few years. “Abubaker Moraba was, in addition to being Player of the Year for the under 17, the overall winner. For several weeks, he has been playing with the under 19 team, which doesn’t follow the same season as the youth, but as the first team. He’s already earned a starting spot. Now we need to wait and see if he can take that last step”, said Groenendijk.
The winners per category are:
Under 12 – Player of the year - Jean-Andre 'Junior' Stroud
Under 13 – Player of the year- Cobain John
Under 14 – Player of the year - Cameron Vorster
Under 15 – Player of the year - Justin Jacobus
Under 17 – Player of the year- Abubaker Mobara