Ajax began the 2011-2012 season on Tuesday morning. The national champion’s first training brought out around 2.500 supporters. Ajax’s new acquisitions, Theo Janssen and Derk Boerrigter, were in action for the first time. 17 year old Mats Rits, who signed a two year contract prior to the training, was also in attendance.
The weather forecast site ‘Buienradaar’ was very popular, and feared, on Tuesday morning. Stormy weather was forecast, but at what time? It was lucky for the supporters that the weather stayed dry until the last minute of the practice. As the Ajax players made their way to the locker room, the first drops of rain were felt. The luck of the champion coloured the first day of the new season.
The players walked onto main field of the Toekomst at 10.45 exactly, wearing the new home kit. In addition to the sixteen Ajax players who had undergone medical testing on Monday, Mats Rits (17) was also on hand. Just prior to the first practice, the Belgian midfielder from GBA had signed a two year contract with Ajax. Just as South African intern Clayton Daniels (Ajax Cape Town), he will train with the selection for the next weeks. Ricardo van Rijn, Dico Koppers, Rodney Sneijder, Geoffrey Castillion en Jody Lukoki (all from Jong Ajax) completed the group.
Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen en Eyong Enoh will join the group on Monday, July 4, at the training camp in De Lutte. The trio are still enjoying their holidays this week due to interland commitments at the end of last season. For Gregory van der Wiel and the Danes Boilesen and Eriksen, the holidays will last one week more. They will report back to Ajax on July 11. On that day, Mounir El Hamdaoui will begin the new season as well. The Moroccan forward will join Jong Ajax.
The Ajax players left the field at 12:00 to thundering applause. The players’ faces all beamed as the supporters chanted ‘champions, champions!’ For the first time since 2004-2005, Ajax is starting the season as reigning champion. And that’s just what everybody wanted to know.