The sunny conditions for Ajax’s second practice session in the U.S. were the backdrop of a cheerful football afternoon. But for Eyong Enoh and Hennie Spijkerman, the afternoon took on a bitter aftertaste. The news that Ajax Cape Town had missed out on the South African championship reached the Ajax players during the practice.
Herman Pinkster has been asked many questions this morning. His smartphone’s internet connection has been working overtime. The halftime scores from South Africa are diffused. Soon after good news (1-0 lead) comes the disappointment. The sister club is facing Maritzburg and have stalled with a 2-2 tie. For former Ajax player Hans Vonk made a costly keeper’s mistake. Orlando Pirates is the new champion.
“I was kept informed by Hennie during the practice”, says Enoh in a disappointed voice, soon after the practice on the DC United field ended. The assistant coach traded Ajax Cape Town for Ajax Amsterdam soon after the winter break, at Frank de Boer’s request. “I really expected them to win it, especially against an opponent ranked quite a bit lower. I’d have loved to celebrate with them. But it wasn’t meant to be, unfortunately.”
The practice session went well for Ajax. In addition to working on their finishing, keep away was also on the agenda, as were passing and finishing exercises. Under warm weather conditions, the selection players and coaches took regular water breaks.
Enoh had intensive contact with Spijkerman during the week. Ajax Cape Town’s website was consulted frequently. “I stayed informed of the team’s preparations for this important match”, continued the Cameroonian Ajax player, as he quenched his thirst with a sports drink. It would have been amazing if Cape Town would have won the first title. Especially since we just recently won the championship ourselves.”
Two days after arriving at Washington Dulles Airport, Enoh is satisfied with the U.S. trip to date. The lead up to, and celebration of, the thirtieth national title was hectic but great. The pace is a bit slower in the U.S. “Of course we’re training seriously and taking the match seriously”, said Enoh. “Now’s not the time to be silly and get injured. Fortunately this week, we also have time to enjoy and relax. We’re enjoying this trip.”
There’s no summer break in sight for the former Ajax Cape Town player. After the USA training camp, Enoh has two interlands with Cameroon on his agenda. Senegal is the opponent on June 4. Three days later, they will face Russia in Salzburg, Austria. “The first practice is already on the 27th. The holiday will be short.”