About 50 reporters and guests of Mongeral AEGON were at a press conference in Pacaembu on Monday. In the stadium, where the opening match of the 1950 World Cup was played, Frank de Boer gave a presentation about Ajax’s youth development program. Jan Vertonghen, Gregory van der Wiel and Nicolás Lodeiro were also there for their baptism by fire with the Brazilian press.
It hadn’t escaped the Brazilian media that Ajax was in São Paulo this week. Recorded by eleven television cameras, de Boer gave a presentation about Ajax’s youth development program in the Pacaembu auditorium. In the municipal stadium (where Palmeiras is temporarily playing its home games while waiting for its new football temple to be ready), national media such as TV Globo and ESPN Brazil were present.
A picture is worth a thousand words, as was apparent when, midway through the presentation, a unique photo appeared next to De Boer. The photo of a young Wesley Sneijder and Frank Rijkaard told the story of Ajax’s youth program. Pictures of the young Nigel de Jong and Clarence Seedorf were also shown. After that, the reporters noted the line-up of the last World Cup final. No fewer than seven players had been through Ajax’s youth development program. This was a testament to the strength of both Dutch football, and Ajax’s philosophy.
De Boer also explained the connection between the current Ajax selection and the first edition of the AEGON Future Cup 2010. Two players from the international tournament for 17 and under are now, two years later, rookies with Ajax 1. De Boer: “Davy Klaassen and Ouasim Bouy are with us in Brazil. That says it all about how important our youth program is. Financially, we’ll never beat the biggest clubs. That’s why we need to be smart. It’s just a shame that many players leave for clubs abroad when they’re about 23 years old. But that’s perhaps our fate. We’ll never change our philosophy. The youth development program was, and always will be, Ajax’s life line.”
Follow Ajax in Brazil via Ajax.nl, Ajax TV, Facebook, Twitter@AFCAjax, Hyves and Google+. Ajax’s activities can also be followed in Portuguese, ensuring that Ajax fans in Brazil won’t miss anything during the national champions’ visit.