Ari Efstathiou, Ajax Cape Town CEO during the 2015 Cape Town Cup Press Conference at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 10 June 2015 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Saturday Jun 13, 2015. 16:33
Ajax Cape Town Chief Executive Officer Ari Efstathiou sees the upcoming Cape Town Cup as a wonderful opportunity for the young players in the Urban Warriors squad to potentially earn themselves a move overseas.
The inaugural edition of the tournament takes place on the 24 and 26 July 2015 and is set to feature top international sides Crystal Palace and Sporting Lisbon, as well as local professional clubs Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United.
Ajax have successfully imported the likes of Stephen Pienaar, Eyong Enoh and Thulani Serero to European clubs in recent years, while many of their youth team graduates have gone on to play for teams across South Africa’s top flight, the Premier Soccer League.
Efstathiou believes that the Cape Town Cup, which will see Ajax taking on Sporting before meeting either Crystal Palace or SuperSport in the final, could potentially provide a springboard to a European move for youngsters such as Rivaldo Coetzee, Abbubaker Mobara, Travis Graham, Tashreeq Morris and Riyaad Norodien, amongst others.
“The advantage we have is that we have academy players who are well trained from an early age. We have a very young squad and we are keeping the core of the squad this season,” said the Ajax CEO.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for them because European clubs will always look at the young players rather than the older players.
“The majority of our squad is between 18 and 21, 22 years old, so it’s the perfect opportunity for them to show their ability and their skill, and their want to play in Europe. There will be international audiences watching, so if there was ever a chance, this is it,” said Efstathiou.