Ajax has had a majority stake in Ajax Cape Town in South Africa since 1999. In the Message from Cape Town column, we focus on the African Ajax team every Monday. In this edition, we take a look at the South Africa internationals with a Cape Town background.
Granwald Scott has been called up to Bafana Bafana for the first time. For George Maluleka, it’s not new. Ajax Cape Town’s website made the announcement: ‘Ajax Cape Town is proud to announce that Granwald Scott and George Maluleka have been invited to join the national team for the matches against Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.”
Scott, who, under Maarten Stekelenburg’s charge, has been Ajax Cape Town’s captain this season, was extraordinarily proud and surprised, as he said on the club’s website: “I can’t believe it”, he said. “It’s such an honour. This selection was a big surprise. I’ve only just recovered from an injury and never thought that the national coaches were even thinking of me.”
Scott, who turns 24 in two weeks, is a player from Ajax Cape Town’s youth academy, who was first added to the team seven years ago. He didn’t see action in last Friday’s game against Ivory Coast (1-1), but his team mate George Maluleka did. He played for a short while when he replaced Steven Pienaar, who also has an Ajax Cape Town background. Although the 22 year old midfielder Maluleka plays for Ajax Cape Town, he only came over last year from SuperSport United.
Besides the two current Ajax internationals, there are several more football players with a Cape Town background who played with Bafana Bafana this week. Keeper Moeneeb Josephs (31 years old) is included. His roots are also Ajax Cape Town. He also went to Amsterdam for a trial a long time ago, but it didn’t work out. Josephs currently plays with Orlando Pirates.
But the most famous international with Ajax Cape Town roots is of course Steven Pienaar. He played in Cape Town’s youth academy for two years before making the move to Amsterdam. Pienaar (29 years old) has been Rafael van der Vaart’s team mate at Tottenham Hotspur since January 2011. And then there’s Daylon Claasen, who is also a steady Bafana Bafana player, and who trained at Ajax Cape Town. Claasen also played in Amsterdam, but due the heavy competition, never made it further than Jong Ajax. He now plays with Lierse SK.
In comparison, of the players called up to the Dutch national team this week, eleven players have an Ajax background, three of whom currently play in Amsterdam. A nice score for both Ajax clubs!