With promotion back to the ABSA Premiership achieved in our first season, Guido & I now need to quickly build a squad capable of challenging for the title whilst balancing the books and establishing the foundations for the future. So, how did we do?
Pre Season Transfer Activity
Guido was pleased to announce that we could now tie down our best players and youth prospects to longer term contracts. There is no doubt our best players would still want to play in the more lucrative leagues but that should work to our advantage if we can get the youth recruitment system working effectively. Our aim is to develop the high potential players to their maximum & sell for inflated prices with clauses built in to their transfers.
As we’d only just got promoted certain players had wanted to leave before the first season had finished. 2 of them Guido had managed to get some transfer monies for, unfortunately Tashreeq Matthews who was a strong player wouldn’t sign a contract so we lost him for free to FC Nurnberg. However we brought in 500k in that early window so had some monies for transfers in.
As Guido mentioned in another of his articles, Somhlolo Utd were a club we could possibly exploit due to their Dutch links. Elzinga & Mols were 2 such players – both 5 star potential and will be given game time due to their attributes even though they were only 17 at the start of the season.
5 of the players he brought in would become regulars for the first team squad with only Mbatha being over 18 years old. A great move towards our vision of developing South African youth.
As you can see we have huge potential within the squad, along with an established base of early to mid 20’s squad to push on for years to come. What a turn around in squad strength by Guido in such a short length of time. Up to me to turn into results now, with my VW tactic I hope to deliver.
Half One Performance
We got off to a flyer winning the first 5 games, with a little blip where i tinkered the line up too much & conceded silly goals. Then won 11 on the bounce before the turn of the year to sit proudly at the top of the league. Attendances were strong and revenues were good as we were doing well in the cups as well …..
New Year Transfer Activity
Some of our big players wanted out with Guido wisely moving them on whilst we could for some actual transfer fees. The Dutch, German & Chinese leagues seem to target the South African clubs for cheap buys. Hopefully as we establish ourselves more on the continental front we’ll be able to tie our players to long term contracts and demand larger fees. That being said Guido brought in over £1 million in fees which is massive in our league.
Cover was brought in for the positions we were unable to cover by promoting from the reserves and youth teams. Only £24k outlaid so a very profitable period. With such a big exodus our squad was depleted but would it affect our ability to perform?
Half Two Performance
In a word – No!! We smashed it, only dropping 2 points in the second half of the season & winning the league for the first time ever. And cup wise …
We won the Nedbank Cup & CAF Confederation Cup with ease bringing home the trophies along with the Telkom Cup we’d won earlier in the season.
Along with the shrewd transfer dealings of Guido, and our great cup runs which brought in huge revenues we turned a profit of over £5 million. This gives us a great base to invest in facilities and better coaching staff to work towards our vision and values of a better youth system for the future of Ajax CT & South African football overall.
8 of my current squad were called up to represent South Africa at the African Nations with 4 more players who left in the January window in the 25 man squad. A really strong gain in this area of one of my main goals.
Season Summary & Season 3 Aims
A great learning curve for both Guido & I but we were both satisfied in what we’ve achieved so far. I’m looking to develop my VW Tactic more in this third season & aim to go the whole season without defeat & win the Continental trophy. I want to improve the coaching staff this year and the facilities they can work in.
Hope you are enjoying the series. Thanks for reading.