We take a look at South African footballers who have played for Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam.
All who have made it to the first team, but one, were afforded Uefa Champions League football by the four-time European champions.
McCarthy was the first South African ever to sign for Ajax Amsterdam. Joining the Dutch giants as a 19-year-old in 1997 from the PSL, McCarthy went on to make 36 league appearances, scoring 20 goals during his two-season spell in Amsterdam. Impressively, he won the Eredivisie title and Dutch Cup with Ajax in his debut season.
Also in his debut season, McCarthy scored one goal in five Uefa Cup matches. Ajax retained the Dutch Cup the following season with McCarthy contributing two goals in four matches. He also made five Uefa Champions League appearances but scored no goals for Ajax in the 1998/99 season before leaving for La Liga side Celta Vigo.
The former Bafana Bafana captain joined Ajax from the Bayer Leverkusen youth set-up when McCarthy left in 1999. Mokoena’s stint in Amsterdam was however limited to just seven Eredivisie appearances in two seasons and one game in the Uefa Cup.
The defender also spent another two seasons on loan at Germinal Beerschot from Ajax, before joining Genk in 2003. He is the only South African player not to play Champions League football with Ajax having been a first team player.
The South African player to make the most appearances in Ajax colours where he wore the sacred number 10 shirt. Arriving in Amsterdam from Ajax Cape Town as an 18-year-old in 2001, Pienaar went on to play 94 Eredivisie games, scoring 15 goals and making 20 assists in five seasons.
The Westbury-bred winger won two Eredivisie titles and a Dutch Cup with Ajax where he also played 25 Champions Leagues games, scoring twice and made four assists in four seasons of European football.
He also played one Uefa Cup game.
The only South African goalkeeper to have played for Ajax and had two stints in Amsterdam. Vonk first joined the Dutch giants in 2004, to become Pienaar’s teammate, after spending eight years with Heerenveen. During that first spell, he featured in 27 Eredivisie games, four Champions League matches (conceding six times) and four Dutch Cup games (conceding three goals) for Ajax, and won the 2006 Dutch Cup.
After leaving Ajax in 2006 for satellite club Ajax Cape Town, Vonk returned to Amsterdam in 2008 but never played a single game in the single season of his second stint.
The midfielder spent seven seasons with Ajax after signing for the Dutch giants from Ajax Cape Town in 2011. He featured in 88 Eredivisie games, scoring eight times as well as 12 Dutch Cup matches. Three league titles and a Dutch Super Cup winners’ medal highlighted his time in Amsterdam.
Serero played appeared in 11 Champions League and well as nine Europa League matches for Ajax and left for Vitesse in 2017.
The retired striker signed a four-year deal with the Amsterdam side from Ajax Cape Town in 2006. But he struggled to make any first team appearance in two-and-a-half seasons, leading to a loan deal back to the Urban Warriors in 2009.
He later on permanently signed for Ajax Cape Town upon the expiry of his contract in the Netherlands in 2010.
The Maritzburg United midfielder was at Ajax Amsterdam for two seasons but never featured for the first team. He arrived in Amsterdam in 2008 from Ajax Cape Town but left for Belgian side Lierse after struggling for a first team place.
The 13-year-old joined the Ajax Amsterdam youth set-up last year following a successful trial. He was previously an Ajax Cape Town Under-12 and Under-13 player before his family relocated to the Netherlands.
AT AJAX BUT NEVER MADE IT TO THE FIRST TEAM…
Gabriel “Ninja” Mofokeng
He arrived at Ajax together with Pienaar from Ajax Cape Town but never made it to the first team. Signing a five-year contract, there were high hopes that Mofokeng would be a big hit but his time in Amsterdam was largely with the Ajax reserve side. A serious knee injury sustained in 2004 forced the right-back on the sidelines for a lengthy period before resurfacing at National First Division side FC AK two years later.
RISING STARS AT AJAX
Signed together with Leo Thethani and also from Ajax Cape Town, Solomons plays for the Jong Ajax as well in the Eereste Divisie. The 21-year-old defender has made 14 appearances for Jong Ajax in two seasons, having started out with the Under-19 side.
The 21-year-old striker currently turns out for the Ajax reserve side, Jong Ajax which plies its trade in the Eerste Divisie which is the second-tier of Dutch football. Thethani arrived in Netherlands from Ajax Cape Town in 2017 and hopes to graduate into the first team.
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By Michael Madyira