Ajax CT appoint Dutchman as new head coach

Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou (Gallo Images)
Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Ajax Amsterdam have called in the big guns to assist Ajax Cape Town in their bid to achieve promotion back to the Absa Premiership, by sending Andries Ulderink, former assistant coach to Jaap Stam.

The two coaches worked very closely during their two year stint at Reading Football Club in the Championship in England. Someone who has been exposed to Ulderink’s training techniques is much-loved ex Urban Warrior, Anssi Jaakkola.

Andries Ulderink has been appointed as the new head coach of Ajax Cape Town with immediate effect, the club said on its website. The 49-year-old arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday evening to take charge of the team before the Nedbank Cup game against TS Galaxy this weekend.

Ulderink replaces Muhsin Ertugral, who handed in his resignation on Sunday, November 11, following a 2-1 defeat to Witbank Spurs.

Ajax Cape Town have not won a game in the National First Division (NFD) since October 7 and head into Saturday’s fixture against TS Galaxy with a new coach, although it is unlikely Ulderink will be on the bench due to work permit issues.

Ajax Amsterdam believe that Ulderink is the ideal choice to manage Ajax Cape Town, not only because of his experience in the very competitive 2nd tier league in England, but also because of his knowledge in managing youth players during his time as coach of Jong Ajax in Amsterdam.

Born in Zwolle in the Netherlands, Andries started his coaching career in 1994 at AZSV as a youth coach. Ulderink notably worked as a coach at Ajax Amsterdam from 2013 to 2016, where he became familiar with the newer Ajax style and ethos.

"Firstly I am very happy to be here. The decision to accept the job was very quick, within 5 or 6 days," said Ulderink on his arrival in the Mother City.

"I was very interested in the job, I’ve always had an interest in Ajax Cape Town during my time as a youth coach of Jong Ajax. It will not be an easy assignment because I will have to learn about an entire squad in a few days, the schedule is very compact and I have to try to get results and learn about the squad in a very short amount of time.

"The philosophy I will follow is one from myself with the foundation of Ajax Amsterdam keeping in mind each head coach has a different style of the Ajax philosophy, I must find what works for the players we have and for the league that the squad is playing in.

"The results in the last two years have not been good and this can change the atmosphere of any club, so it’s very important for me to work on the positive attitude. It’s important for the fans and the people that work for the club to feel positive about the way we play.

Ulderink continued: "There are a lot of young players in the squad and this is a good sign for me, everyone must earn the position because I only know a little about each player, this is a good opportunity for them to earn themselves a spot in the squad.

"I love developing players and I really believe you are never too old to learn, this is the kind of squad that you can work on individuals and still get a team result, but for right now the goal for me is simple; learn as much as I can as quick as I can based on my own opinions and get the team back to the Premiership."

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