Roger de Sa: Ajax has the best academy in the country

Ajax Cape Town head coach Roger de Sa is constructing a formidable Urban Warriors side which he believes will be more competitive this season

With the season closely approaching, Ajax Cape Town head coach Roger de Sa spoke to the clubs official website about his vision going forward. De Sa joined Ajax at the end of the last campaign when the club battled in the relegation zone. The former Orlando Pirates mentor helped steady the side and guided them away from relegation.

“It was an easy decision to come here. The link with Amsterdam and the youth setup, I enjoy the grooming of players. This is the best Academy in the country,” said De Sa.

With numerous player movements at Ikamva, the Ajax mentor is looking to bring a sense of calmness and stability to the club.

“There has been a lot of player movement and that instability is not good for the club. There’s always going to be player movement but the core of the team has to be strong which is what we’re working on,” said De Sa.

“I’m looking for characters. That’s what we’re lacking here, a little charisma, someone to bring a little mettle to this young team. Someone who can be influential in the change rooms, outside in the social world, and on the field,” he added.

However, the Urban Warriors continued to sign young players during the break. With the acquisition of Robin Ngalande (21), James Mofokeng (22), Noah Sadaoui (21), Phathizwe Sacolo (22) and promoted Ziyaad Eksteen (18).

“It’s important we learn from them. Their playing style is famous the world over,” said De Sa, referring to their parent club Ajax Amsterdam.

“We have to use these ties to strengthen ourselves. Obviously you can’t implement it like for like because the game changes and you have to adapt, but as a base from which to start, you can’t ask for more. We’ve got to apply that to an African context.

“We’re going to work a lot closer than in the past. That will open up the whole academy. I like to be involved and I’m very close with the head of the youth system as well. It’s important to me that I know what we have here so I am aware of the players’ potential,” he added.