Absa Premiership

Vonk leaves Ajax CT, points finger at power-hungry Efstathiou

Hans Vonk of Ajax Cape Town during the National First Division, Warm Up match between Ajax Cape Town and Cape Umoya United at Ikamva on July 27, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Hans Vonk of Ajax Cape Town during the National First Division, Warm Up match between Ajax Cape Town and Cape Umoya United at Ikamva on July 27, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
EJ Langner

Cape Town - Hans Vonk on Wednesday announced his resignation as technical director from Ajax Cape Town and pointed to discord with CEO Ari Efstathiou as a reason for his exit.

The former goalkeeper had been suspended for what the club termed "serious misconduct" with head coach Andries Ulderink resigning after the refusal by Efstathiou to lift the suspension.

Both men released a joint statement to fans where they laid the blame firmly with the power-hungry Efstathiou.

"On Monday‚ 3rd February 2020‚ Ari Efstathiou issued a statement about the resignation of coach Andries Ulderink and the suspension of Hans Vonk‚ the Head of Football. Hans has subsequently resigned as well‚" the statement said.

"Through this open letter to all Ajax fans‚ we would like to share our side of the story.

"In December 2018‚ we started our journey together at Ajax CT. Hans as Head of Football and Andries as head coach.

"Together‚ we had one goal: to bring Ajax CT back to the PSL. In addition to that‚ we wanted to bring back a culture fitting with Ajax CT. This is a culture that has made Ajax CT successful in the past 20 years‚ but sadly‚ little remained of that culture in the last few years.

"When we started in our new roles‚ our first team was in 11th place in the National First Division (NFD). We ended the 2018/2019 season in 4th place‚ only 1 goal away from a spot in the play-offs.

"The hard work of Andries and his technical team is paying off. Ajax CT is currently at the top of the NFD and was playing a role in the cup competition for the first time in years.

"Unfortunately‚ things were turbulent behind the scenes. Since January 2020 Ari Efstathiou had again taken over all football-related matters‚ against the wishes of Ajax Amsterdam‚ Ajax CT’s major shareholder and to our disquiet.

"At the beginning of January‚ an intense internal discussion took place concerning the policies that have been implemented and as a result Hans was suspended because of alleged ‘serious charges of misconduct'.

"It is regrettable that Hans’s conduct‚ and views on the running of Ajax CT‚ have been distorted. The fans know Hans. He has been a loyal supporter of South African football all his life. The charges have not been formulated or substantiated and Hans denies any wrongdoing or actions that could remotely be regarded as serious misconduct.

"There is nothing Hans cares more about than the development of South African (youth) football and the success of Ajax CT.

"To resolve this matter‚ we jointly requested Ari to lift Hans' suspension and not to interfere with the winning combination of Hans and Andries and the Ajax CT team. We assured Ari that we would finish the season together and ensure that the club wins the championship. At the end of this season‚ we could part ways with the club.

"Ari was not prepared to agree to our proposal and the situation at Ajax CT therefore become highly untenable for both of us‚ and this is why we resigned.

"We are grateful to have had the privilege of working for this great club. We wish the supporters and all others involved much success in the upcoming months. We hope our PSL dream comes true."

Parent club Ajax Amsterdam had previously shared their disappointment at the developments in Cape Town at the exit of Ulderink.

"As a major shareholder, we are dissatisfied with the recent developments and what has been communicated by Ajax Cape Town," an Ajax Amsterdam spokesperson said.

"In our view, Andries Ulderink and Hans Vonk were doing an excellent job," Ajax added.

- Compiled by Baden Gillion

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