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July 22, 2009

Soccer safari: part two

Ajax Cape Town

The next stop on our Coffeebeans Routes soccer tour was Premier Soccer League side Ajax Cape Town’s facilities. Ajax, I discovered, was the first franchised professional soccer team in the world.

What really impressed me was the club’s energy and the passion that they poured into youth development. On the day that we visited, they were having their U/9 trials and it was great to watch the kids out on the fields, chasing their dream of playing for Bafana Bafana one day.

Formed in 1999, Ajax Cape Town has already seen 68 young players go through their development programme and be placed in professional leagues, both in South Africa and internationally.

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An inspiring sight: kids from all over Cape Town flock to Ajax Cape Town for soccer trials.

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Ajax Cape Town’s silverware. It’s a proud moment for any Capetonian to realise the success of this Cape Town-based team.

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A motivation for the youth who visit Ajax Cape Town, this wall is a tribute to some of the side’s greatest players.

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Steven Pienaar, a product of the Ajax Cape Town youth development programme, was the first player transferred from Ajax Cape Town to Ajax Amsterdam. Steven, who played for South Africa at U/17 and U/20 level, is currently a Bafana Bafana regular.

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The entrance of Ajax Cape Town’s home base.  The team runs many community projects, one of which is run with the South African Police Service and arranges informal soccer games for street children. The initiative aims to change the negative perception street kids have of the police. Members of the police force fetch the children off the streets, give them an hour of life-skills lessons, serve them lunch and then facilitate a soccer game.

Click here to see part one of the soccer safari.

Aslam Levy is an eMarketing Coordinator at Cape Town Tourism, you can view his personal blog here.

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