African trio Andre Onana, Bertrand Traore and Hakim Ziyech finished as runners-up in the Eredivisie with Ajax Amsterdam despite beating Willem II 1-3 on the final day of the season on Sunday, as rivals Feyenoord clinched the Dutch crown.
Heading into the final day of fixtures, Ajax needed to win and hope Feyenoord failed to beat Heracles in Rotterdam, but a hat-trick from 36-year-old Dirk Kuyt helped the domestic heavyweights claim their first Eredivisie title in 18 years.
33-time champions Ajax were poised to pounce if De club aan de Maas slipped up, but it wasn’t to be as Kuyt ensured that Feyenoord won the league with 82 points - one more than their rivals.
Cameroon goalkeeper Onana has been a marvel to watch between the sticks for Peter Bosz’s side, keeping 21 clean sheets in 47 starts across all competitions in only his first full season in top flight football having arrived to join Ajax Jong from Barcelona in January 2015.
Morocco international Ziyech, a recent arrival from FC Twente, also proved an integral acquisition, making 41 appearances, scoring 11 and creating 19 assists since his arrival ahead of match day five.
Burkinabe attacker and Chelsea loanee Traore was the third African at the side and, despite leaving for a month in January to take part in the Stallions’ impressive Nations Cup run, the 21-year-old still managed to score 13 times in 38 appearances for de Godenzonen.
He also created six goals for his teammates.
Ajax fielded the youngest starting line-up in the 61-year history of the Eredivisie with an average age of 20 years and 139 days, and still have the Europa League final to look forward to after they beat Olympique Lyonnais to set up a date with Manchester United.
Also at Ajax, South Africa international Thulani Serero was demoted to Ajax Jong in the Eerste Divisie where he made five appearances this campaign.