Outgoing Ajax Cape Town coach Foppe de Haan has apologised to the club’s fans and Capetonians in general following the Urban Warriors’ capitulation in their search for the Absa Premiership title on Saturday.
Ajax just needed to beat lowly Maritzburg United in order to win the trophy, and at halftime with a 1-0 lead it all looked very good.
However, the pressure got to the young side, allowing Maritzburg back into the game and ultimately resulting in a 2-2 draw. That, coupled with Orlando Pirates’ 2-1 win against Golden Arrows, meant the Buccaneers were crowned 2010/11 champions.
The likeable De Haan didn’t mince his words in his farewell speech as Ajax coach. “First, I want to apologise in a big way; not only to the club, but to all Capetonians.
“In the first half we were much better; they didn’t create a lot and we had the best chances. In the second half we worked hard, but not as a team. I discussed this at training last week, but it happened. We iced in the last match of the season,” he said in a press conference.
De Haan said the mood in the dressing room after the match was understandably gloomy, especially veteran goalkeeper Hans Vonk, whose howler for the first goal in his farewell match ultimately cost Ajax dearly.
“We made mistakes, especially the first goal. Hans had a great season and now this. After the match it was a like a funeral in the dressing room. Hans was totally down, but life goes on.”
De Haan also had some words of wisdom for his successor, who could be Wim van Zwan.
“I think the [new] coach must continue working with the same style,” he said. “I think this team can improve a lot, but they need to continue training harder. [But] don’t take a totally different coach because otherwise you will go a new way.”