Ajax Cape Town coach will quit the club even if they are promoted to PSL

Dutch coach Andries Ulderink (L) chats to Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathrio (R) after a match.
Dutch coach Andries Ulderink (L) chats to Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathrio (R) after a match.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Ajax Cape Town coach Andries Ulderink has told the club he will not renew his contract with the team even if he guides them to promotion to the Absa Premiership at the end of this season.

Dutch coach Ulderink has done well to steady the ship after the disastrous tenure of Muhsin Ertugral saw the side relegated from the top-flight, and begin life in the GladAfrica Championship with a succession of defeats that threatened to see them sink further.

Ajax missed out on the promotion play-offs last season on goal-difference after two defeats in their final three games cost them dearly, but they head the table by three points in this campaign with 11 games remaining.

Ulderink has decided to return to Europe whatever happens though, having spent the last 18 months apart from his family.

“He sacrificed 18 months of his career to assist Ajax Cape Town fight their way out the NFD,” Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou said.

“Being away from his family, and campaigning in a notoriously difficult league, has been no easy task.

"He is a true professional and we have no doubt in his commitment to finish the season as champions.”

Ulderink informed the players of his decision following the 2-1 victory at Royal Eagles this weekend, which took many by surprise.

“Ulderink will write his name on Ajax Cape Town’s history should he lead the team in winning the GladAfrica Championship,” Efstathiou said.

“In addition, he will be the only Dutch coach to ever lift any silverware at Ajax Cape Town.”

Ajax have had a number of Dutch coaches in the past, with mixed success.

The most notable was Foppe de Haan, who led the team to second in the 2010/11 season when they botched a home game against Maritzburg United on the final day of the season to gift the title to Orlando Pirates.

That side contained the likes of Khama Billiat, Thulani Serero, George Maluleka, Thulani Hlashwayo, Willard Katsande and Lebogang Manyama, many of whom credit De Haan with giving their career a boost.

Maarten Stekelenburg followed De Haan but proved a disappointment.

Not that it has affected his career, he was recently elevated to Ronald Koeman’s assistant along with Ruud van Nistelrooy for the Netherlands national side.

Leo van Veen (1999–00), Henk Bodewes (2000), Jan Versleijen (2013) and Stanley Menzo (2016–2017) are other Dutch coaches to have worked at the club.

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