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[FM19] From Ajax to Ajax


oriole01
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Ajax Cape Town
2021/22 Season

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Summer Transfers
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We were active in the transfer market, bringing in immediate options such as defensive midfielder Martin Green from SuperSport, center back Nithaar Smith from Golden Arrows, striker Njabulo Molefe from newly-promoted Tuks, and securing the return of Riyaaz Koopstadt on loan. Uthongathi's young right back Abram Jonas was more of a future-oriented transfer, as he didn't end up playing this season and we loaned him out in January. We took a big gamble on deadline day by shelling out a club record $1.4 million for Nigerian attacking midfielder Victor Balogun, who I couldn't resist bringing in despite making a high-profile transfer the previous season at the same position for Louis Kessié.

On the other end, Ayanda Mkhize's time as an Ajax Cape Town player came to end after less than a season in the first team, as Manchester City saw something special in him and I was able to net a million dollars from them in return. I knew that this would be coming, but I wish I could have had at least one full season with a player who has (spoiler alert) developed into a world-class talent since. Tashreeq Morris also left the club after a disappointing season, with Maritzburg giving him a new home. Masilake Phohlongo and Morné Nel went to Sundowns on loan with an eye for permanent moves away as well.

We promoted goalkeeper Bennett Khumalo, left back Zairon Kekana, striker Ashley Cupido, and right winger Tsepo Ngcobo from the youth team.

---

First Period
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A fantastic start to the season as we lifted the MTN 8 for the first time courtesy of a 94th minute own goal, breezed through Confederation Cup qualifying, and advanced to the Telkom Knockout final. We lost just once to Orlando Pirates in the league, and won six games from eight to start league play.

Second Period
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We went unbeaten in this period, winning three matches from three in the Confederation Cup group and winning our second trophy of the season before the winter break, as a Thabo Mosadi brace sunk Orlando Pirates, who we beat in both finals.

Winter Transfers
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In the winter window we sold last season's big foreign signing Kessié, which was a no-brainer as he was complaining about playing time, was struggling to make a real impression on the pitch, and had a more exciting player in his position in Victor Balogun. He went for a good profit to Porto, the same club that bought Bull and Koopstadt from us last season. Our experiment with last season's Premiership goals runner-up Cupido ended after just half a season, as all four of his goals were scored against poor opposition and Highlands Park came in with an offer for far more than what he was worth.

Angolan center back Alberto da Cruz (who was in the summer screenshot) arrived in December, though he played a limited role this season.

Third Period
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Another unbeaten period, as we finished with a 100% record in the Confederation Cup group stage and easily dispatched groupmates Génération Foot in the quarter final, continued to pick up wins in the league, and advanced to the Nedbank Cup semi final.

Fourth Period
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At the business end of the season we continued to win to secure the league title and won our second Confederation Cup trophy after dispatching Sfax and Ismaily over two legs, which brought us up to an impressive four trophies on the season. We were prevented from winning a clean sweep however, as Kaizer Chiefs dealt us a heartbreaking extra time loss in the Nedbank Cup semi final, Thabo Sithole scoring an equalizer in the 89th minute and a winner in the 120th minute to knock us out. Balogun really came alive in this last period, scoring seven goals to complete a fantastic second half after failing to make an impression in the first.

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Final League Table
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There was only going to be one league winner in a season where we lost just once, which was a huge improvement on not just our 3rd-placed finish last season, but on our first title-winning season as well. Pirates came the closest to us but they really weren't close at all. The same eight teams from last season made up this season's top eight, which was a disappointment. Tuks and Tshakhuma stayed up in their first season as Premiership clubs on the save, Chippa survived the dreaded playoff, and Cape Umoya's luck ran out as they went down rock bottom after a truly atrocious year.

Promoted from First Division:
Black Leopards

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Kaizer Chiefs (14th title)

MTN 8 Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (2nd title)

Telkom Knockout Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (4th title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
Mamelodi Sundowns (2nd title)

A shock in the CL as Sundowns broke Tunis' four-year streak by defeating them in the final on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw. I was happy to see the streak finally end, but it stung a bit that another South African club were the ones to do it instead of us.

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (2nd title)

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Awards
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Bheki Sono won our player of the season award, as he hit double figures in goals from the midfield and stepped up well to fill the big hole left by his classmate Mkhize's departure by playing more games than anyone else.

Best XI

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Our two club legends continued to perform at a high level, as Thabo Mosadi bagged an incredible 14 goals and 14 assists this season and Thomas Verhaar made an improvement on last season with 15 goals. This would end up being Verhaar's final season, as he announced his retirement at the age of 34. Though I believed he still had at least another season in him, he went out on top of his game and kept his legend status fully intact. I signed him as a scout, so he will continue to be part of the Ajax Cape Town family for years to come.

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Tracker
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Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

Edited by oriole01
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Posted (edited)

1358999005_AjaxCT.thumb.png.3109af2ce1ffe881a91cde828ab1eff5.png
Ajax Cape Town
2022/23 Season
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Summer Transfers
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On the outgoings side, we lost midfielder Jesse Donn to the MLS, though his drop in production last season made it a less difficult decision to sell him then it could have been. We sold another striker for much more than he was worth in Promise Mkhuma, whose performances had worsened in each season since signing and we managed to make a profit by offloading him to Kaizer Chiefs. Our number one Jody February had his head turned by Liverpool, and with such a reputable club coming in for him there was little I could do, though in hindsight I probably could have got more money for him. Morné Nel's move to Sundowns was made permanent, and on deadline day we made the difficult decision to sell Isaac Nhlapo to Chiefs, as although he had continued to perform fantastically in the 2nd XI, he was on the wrong side of 30 and would have been holding back young CB prospects had he stayed. We also released backup keeper Darren Johnson, as he had been third choice for over a year and needed first-team football. He signed for Cape Umoya in the second tier.

On the incoming side, we were able to make quality signings while only spending money on one player. I decided to bring Raymond Monama back to the club after two years away, as he had been left to rot on the bench by Chiefs and I wanted to ensure a player that was important to us would be able to get on the pitch towards the end of his career. We replaced Donn in the midfield by poaching teenager Bongani Modisane on a free from second-tier Jomo Cosmos, who looks an exciting talent. Even more exciting is striker Moussa Kanta, who was sitting around at an academy in Mali and as soon as my scouts found him, he was on a plane to Cape Town. Spanish goalkeeper Manu Mejías was completely out of left field, as following the departure of February and the promotion of Bennett Khumalo to number one, I needed to find someone to play in the 2nd XI. Somehow my scouts found Mejías who had literally just spawned as a free agent, and I was able to convince him to bring his talents south over the likes of multiple Spanish clubs that were interested.

Our only paid signing was the most interesting. Following his massive second half last season, Victor Balogun received an offer from Porto and wanted to leave, so I accepted and immediately began looking for a replacement at attacking midfield. I already was familiar with Augustine Mahlonoka, and was close to signing him as a free agent after he was released by Pirates, but I didn't have a place for him in the team at the time. He ended up with Free State, who I paid over $100k to sign him from. However, Balogun for some reason ended up rejecting Porto's contract offer just days after Mahlonoka's signing was confirmed, putting both him and me in an awkward position. Long story short, Balogun remained unhappy the whole season and only ended up playing two games for us off the bench, which was a shame considering the talent he has. But I've got no idea why he rejected that offer in the first place.

We promoted striker Thando Shabalala from the youth team to play in the 2nd XI behind Kanta, and we would also give some games later in the season to striker Manqoba Nhlapo, one of our club's most exciting prospects.

---

First Period
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We again started the season on great form, retaining the MTN 8 and making it through to the Champions League group stage after overturning a first leg defeat to Congolese side AC Léopards. We also collected the CAF Super Cup for the first time after a narrow win over Mamelodi Sundowns, which signaled our intent to go for the CL crown.

Second Period
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In a season that was heavily affected by the Qatar World Cup, we took a break in November and December and ended up playing through January. Unfortunately, we didn't respond very well to the new routine, as a string of four losses in a row saw us out of the Telkom Knockout and in a deep hole in the Champions League after a poor loss to Orlando Pirates at home and a shocking one to Nigerian side Enyimba. We were average in the league, taking losses to AmaZulu and Sundowns that put us into a tight title race.

Winter Transfers
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Masilake Phohlongo ended up getting a move to Europe after we'd loaned him out last season, which I was happy to see. We sold left back Yagan Sasman to China, as he had become third choice at his position and wanted more game time. At the other full back position I was less keen to sell the long-serving Sirgio Kammies, but he was interested in going to Vitesse and with Guy Romain Kpéa and last season's signing Abram Jonas at his position, we were covered there. Njabulo Molefe left the club after just 18 months, as similar to Cupido last season he couldn't score in games where we weren't expected to win by a huge margin, and we got an offer from Sundowns that I couldn't refuse for a player that had little value to the team.

Central midfielder Imraan Erasmus arrived from Chippa on deadline day, but we loaned him back for the rest of the season in anticipation of a spot opening up for him next season.

Third Period
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Our form was up and down in the third period, as we continued to find wins harder to come by in the league and were on the wrong end of embarrassing results against Tuks and Tshakhuma. In the Champions League we lost to Pirates again and failed to get revenge on Enyimba, but two strong results against Ivorians Africa Sports meant we scraped through to the quarter final with just two wins from six. We also advanced to the Nedbank Cup quarter final after getting rid of a big threat early in Chiefs, which left a five-trophy season on the table going into the last period.

Fourth Period
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At the end of the season we finally turned things on when we needed it most, as after a second loss of the season to AmaZulu, we were just about perfect in the league. We iced the title with a massive win over Pirates on the penultimate matchday, who had been chasing us at the top all season long. We also beat them four days previous to capture a third Nedbank Cup title on the save, as we also got proper revenge on AmaZulu in the semi final by dropping eight goals on them in a performance reminiscent of our win by the same scoreline and at the same stage against Sundowns in our first season.

However, we weren't able to make it past the quarter final in the Champions League, as we blew a 3-1 lead to Egyptian giants Al-Ahly by giving up a third goal and tie equalizer in the 94th minute of the second leg, then going on to fall on penalties. A bitter defeat, but considering our poor performance in the group stage we were probably far from the most deserving team this season anyway.

---

Final League Table
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We were pushed harder for the title this season than ever before, as we ended up finishing just two points ahead of Pirates, who had a strong season but weren't quite as solid in defense as we were. A big surprise came as Highlands Park finished all the way up in 3rd under the stewardship of Micho Sredojević and earned a Confederation Cup place. AmaZulu did well to break into the top half for the first time, as they've become a very formidable side under Eric Tinkler. SuperSportWits, and Maritzburg finished in the bottom half, while Tuks and Tshakhuma comfortably stayed up again. Black Leopards didn't finish last this time but still went down in the playoff, and Chippa went down automatically after narrowly escaping the drop last year.

Promoted from First Division:
Free State Stars, Cape Umoya United

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (4th title)

Telkom Knockout Winners:
Maritzburg United (1st title)

MTN 8 Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (3rd title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
ES Tunis (7th title)
A return to normalcy in the CL, as Tunis regain the title in their sixth consecutive final. This time they got the better of South African opposition in Pirates, who did well to make it this far and kept the tie close, but ended up falling 2-1 on aggregate.

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Kaizer Chiefs (1st title)

CAF Super Cup Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (1st title) 

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Awards
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Sbusiso Mabiliso won both our and the league's player of the season award, as well as league defender of the year. He contributed 2 goals and 12 assists from left back, so the plaudits are richly deserved.

Best XI
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We had several players put together great seasons for us in addition to Mabiliso, as Nkosinathi Madlala had a breakout season at right wing with a frankly absurd 18 goals and 17 assists, Moussa Kanta lived up to expectations with 19 goals, Thando Shabalala established himself with 12 goals in his first season as a senior player, and although Thabo Mosadi's production dropped considerably, he still managed to score this crazy goal to continue adding to his legend at the Cape Town Stadium.

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Tracker
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Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

Edited by oriole01
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Posted (edited)

1358999005_AjaxCT.thumb.png.3109af2ce1ffe881a91cde828ab1eff5.png
Ajax Cape Town
2023/24 Season
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Summer Transfers
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We weren't as busy in the transfer market this summer as in the last few. On the incoming side we brought in two familiar faces permanently in Riyaaz Koopstadt and Kiyaam Bull, and it was like they never left as they had been on loan at the club the past three seasons and never played a game for Porto, who had opted not to renew either of their contracts.

On the outgoing side, we made no permanent sales but sent out several players- including some former first teamers- out on loan. I was forced to let Guy Romain Kpéa return to the Ivory Coast on loan, as he pitched a fit about potentially failing to gain a work permit and refused to see sense. Kyle Christian took a huge step back last season, failing to score a single goal, so with him being in a competitive position at left wing I decided to loan him out to try and regain his form with Kaizer Chiefs. After a great year in 2021/22, Kamohelo Mahlatsi had also regressed last season and lost his place at right wing to both Nkosinathi Madlala and Tsepo Ngcobo, so he also went to Johannesburg on loan with Orlando Pirates, who have the option to sign him permanently.

We promoted left winger Dante Brown to first team, who had a very impressive loan spell at SuperSport last season. Right back Shakes Abrahams also got the call up, and we started giving games to past signings Broulaye Minté at DM after he spent several seasons back on loan in Mali and Imraan Erasmus at CM.

---

First Period
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A decent start to the season, but not as dominant as we're used to. We dumped bucketloads of goals on the opposition in Champions League qualifying and managed to win the MTN 8 for the third year in a row after scraping through AmaZulu in the semi final and seeing off Pirates in the final. AmaZulu got their revenge in the league though, beating us for the third time in a row in that competition. We were also eliminated from the Telkom Knockout at the first hurdle, falling on penalties to Highlands Park after a 1-1 draw.

Second Period
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We broke off a huge win streak in the second period, getting off to a perfect start in the Champions League group and winning key matches in the league. We were outplayed by Mamelodi Sundowns, however, with Njabulo Molefe managing to get on the scoresheet against us. Interestingly, Manu Mejías scored a penalty against SuperSport, as he was rated as a good taker and got our first goal for a keeper since Jody February scored a free kick back in 2021.

Winter Transfers
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Another window that was pretty quiet, as no one came in. We loaned out attacking midfielder Khaya Mfecane to Free State, who I simply couldn't find a place for with Bheki Sono and Augustine Mahlonoka at his position. Mahlatsi's loan move was also made permanent, and we got a decent return for a player we had signed for free back in the second season.

Third Period
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A very strong period, but it ended bitterly. We continued to rack up wins in the league and the goals really started to flow with a 7-0 destruction of AmaZulu, a 5-3 win over Pirates, and a 7-2 smashing of Maritzburg. We also made it through the early rounds of the Nedbank Cup after a Moussa Kanta hat trick was enough to get rid of Bidvest Wits and young striker Manqoba Nhlapo got a late winner for us over Cape Umoya.

We finished the Champions League group with an impressive five wins and one draw, but once again our campaign came to an end at the quarter final stage. MC Alger put together a strong performance at home, with goals from Farès Hachi and Zine Zenasni leading them to a 2-0 victory. We knew what we needed to do in Cape Town, but an early away goal from Zenasni meant we needed four... and we ended up with three, losing the tie on away goals. I thought we had enough to get through this team, but they outplayed us and proved me wrong, so the Champions League will have to wait for at least another season.

Fourth Period
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We had already pretty much wrapped up the league by this point, so the real question was whether we could retain the Nedbank Cup. We were able to get through Sundowns on penalties in the quarter final, but Tuks were a step too far in the semis, as they made real improvements this season and were able to complete a turnaround after we had gone ahead early in the second half. We were handed a third league loss by Wits, but finished strong. Raymond Monama, who had announced his retirement at the end of the season and had only played three games this year, managed to score in his final game!

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Final League Table
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We ended up winning the league at a canter, with a margin of 13 points from first to second being the largest we'd managed on the save so far. I was delighted to see the team that finished in second, as Highlands Park managed to do even better than last season's third-placed finish and secure their highest position since 1980. They have turned into a fantastic side under Micho "Shredder" Sredojević and will play Champions League football next season. AmaZulu also improved on last season's good finish by reaching fifth in the table, and Tuks managed to pull off a very impressive top-half finish in just their third year in the league.

Overall it was a good year for the little guy and a bad year for many of the big clubs, as Pirates, City, and Wits all finished in the bottom half, with Wits only four points off the relegation playoffs. That spot was occupied by Tshakhuma, who went down, and Bloem Celtic dropped out of the league in last place after spending 20 seasons in the top flight.

Promoted from First Division:
TS Sporting, Royal Eagles
Two new teams in the league next year!

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Tuks (1st title)
We lost to the champions. Good for them!

Telkom Knockout Winners:
SuperSport United (2nd title)

MTN 8 Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (4th title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
Al-Ahly (9th title)
Despite ES Tunis' recent surge, Egyptian giants Al-Ahly are still Africa's greatest-ever side. They've won a record-extending ninth title and their first on this save, holding Tunis scoreless over two legs and winning 1-0 in each game. It's a second final loss in three years for the Tunisians, but they have still reached an incredible seven in a row.

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Cape Town City (1st title)
City have won their first continental gold, defeating Ghanaian underdogs Aduana Stars in the final.

CAF Super Cup Winners:
ES Tunis (5th title)

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Awards
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Sbusiso Mabiliso made it two in a row for both league awards he won last year, and was of course our player of the season again after contributing a goal and 12 assists. Bennett Khumalo retained the league's goalkeeper of the season award, which one of our keepers has won every single year we've been in the league. Ashley Cupido made the team of the year after scoring 17 goals for Highlands Park, so this proves he just wasn't a fit with our system.

Best XI
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We got impressive seasons out of a lot of players this season, and I was especially happy for the players that had just come into the team such as Imraan ErasmusDante Brown, and Shakes AbrahamsGrant Margeman stepped up his goal production big time this season with 12, easily his highest ever. Tsepo Ngcobo had a fantastic season in the 2nd XI, scoring even more than Madlala and coming within a goal of being joint-top scorer. That title was again held by Moussa Kanta, who didn't score quite as many as he did last season but was still a key player up top.

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Tracker
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While we may have "only" won the league and MTN 8 this time, this was still a very good season that has given me reason to believe big things are right around the corner.

Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

Edited by oriole01
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Posted (edited)

1358999005_AjaxCT.thumb.png.3109af2ce1ffe881a91cde828ab1eff5.png
Ajax Cape Town
2024/25 Season

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Summer Transfers
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It was a busy summer this time, especially on the outgoing side, as more foreign clubs came in for my players than ever before. Augustine Mahlonoka was unhappy with his playing time and left for Rapid Wien, and we only ended up making a tiny profit on him. Bheki Sono went to Heerenveen, though I was happy to sanction this transfer as in the two years since his breakout season he had rarely stood out. I wasn't as prepared to lose Keegan Johannes to Twente as he was a fantastic player for us, but he wanted the move. We got $1.5 million for star keeper Bennett Khumalo from Lazio, as well as his services back on loan for the season, so this was a good deal. Two-time Premiership player of the year Sbusiso Mabiliso left for ADO Den Haag, and Kiyaam Bull left for good this time to Groningen, who will surely give him a lot more games than Porto did. We netted our biggest-ever fee for star striker Moussa Kanta, who were able to negotiate $3 million away from PSG for. On deadline day Porto came calling once again, grabbing second-choice keeper Manu Mejías and huge striker prospect Manqoba Nhlapo, though I was able to secure the return of the latter for two seasons on loan, as he hadn't had the chance to properly get going down here and I wanted to see what he could do. Khaya Mfecane and Kyle Christian went back out on loan after neither did much in their previous spell, with the hope that both would turn into permanent moves. Lastly, we made the tough decisions to release Guy Romain Kpéa and Keenan Abrahams, as the former's work permit problem had not resolved itself and the latter I felt had stagnated in terms of growth despite being a solid player for us since the beginning of the save and was standing in the way of too many younger prospects at center back. Kpéa signed for a club in Saudi Arabia and Abrahams signed for Mamelodi Sundowns.

On the incoming side, we balanced replacing the players that left with adding more depth to the club in the form of young prospects. Mahlonoka's replacement at AM was the Australian Daniel Ruiz, an absolute gem of a player I was able to bring in on a free after he left the Canberra Academy. I signed prospect Aden Memela as cover for the left back position from Jomo Cosmos, where he had had a good season in the second tier. For the first time ever I decided to sign a player who had been a starter at one of the big clubs, as we went in for Sundowns' center back Muzi Thidiela, who looks ready to contribute right away. I took a "if you can't beat em, sign em" mentality with MC Alger's striker Zine Zenasni, whose two goals in last year's CL quarter final were responsible for our elimination. He will compete for the lone striker spot left by Kanta with Nhlapo. We also made a future-oriented signing of another striker in Bloemfontein Celtic's 17-year-old Mbongeni Devitt, who looks to have all the potential in the world but isn't quite there yet, so we loaned him back to Bloem for the rest of the season and we'll see how he performs in the second tier.

We've made a lot of promotions from the youth team as well, as midfielder Charles Xulu, center back Luyanda Bacela, goalkeeper Nicholas Zulu, and left back Maxwell February have entered the first team. Xulu looks like he could be the next Ayanda Mkhize, and February looks like a perfect replacement for Mabiliso, so we'll be keeping an eye on their progress this season.

Lastly, Thabo Mosadi announced that this would be his final season as a player.

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First Period
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Another dominant start to the season, though it was disappointing to lose the iKapa Derby to Cape Town City. We made it an incredible four in a row in the MTN 8, this time with a surprise opponent in the final in last year's eighth-placed team Golden Arrows. All three of our strikers have started well, and so has Daniel Ruiz.

Second Period
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We continued rolling into the end of 2024 with just one loss in 13 games, though it was costly as Tuks knocked us out of the Telkom Knockout at the semi final stage after beating us in the Nedbank Cup semi last season. We also got out to a good start in the Champions League group and almost took maximum points from a stretch of five consecutive away games in the league to end the year, with Tuks foiling us again in Pretoria.

Winter Transfers
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We lost another player to a foreign club, as Cincinnati came in for our starting left back Zairon Kekana. Though the MLS isn't a place I would sell my players to without question, we had both Maxwell February and summer signing Aden Memela at his position, so I didn't stand in the way of the move.

We signed free agent attacking midfielder Kobamelo Kodisang (seen in the summer screenshot), who had been a good young player at Bidvest Wits in seasons past but had been let go and was struggling to find a new club, and I didn't want to see a player with his ability forced into an early retirement. At the very least I hope to give him a career rehab session here so that he can attract the interest of a club that will give him playing time, and if he does well then he can be a part of our future plans.

Third Period
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For some reason we had two Champions League games in January, but we had no trouble readjusting to competitive play. We got a measure of retribution against MC Alger by beating them 4-2 in Algiers, but a 3-1 loss at home meant we would need to meet and defeat them in the knockout stages for the record to truly be set straight. We destroyed Nchanga Rangers and ES Sahel in the other remaining games to finish top of the group, just ahead of Alger on goal difference, then breezed past ES Sétif in the quarter final behind a pair of 3-0 wins.

We also advanced to the Nedbank Cup semi final thanks to late winners from Nhlapo against SuperSport and Dante Brown against Wits.

Fourth Period
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We drew compatriots Highlands Park in the Champions League semi final, and though I was delighted to have seen them come this far, we ensured their run came to an end. A brace from Nhlapo in the first leg and two vintage performances from Thabo Mosadi saw us well through 6-2 on aggregate, meaning for the first time we have reached the final!

We rounded out the league campaign on great form to wrap up yet another title, though we were taken down in the Nedbank Cup semi final by Orlando Pirates, who went on to win the competition in a Soweto Derby final. That meant there was only one order of business left...

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2025 CAF Champions League Final

The Path
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A big upset in the quarter final saw Zamalek eliminate ES Tunis in a thrilling tie to finally end their run of seven finals in a row, but they were in turn beaten by MC Alger. Alger have reached their third final, the second resulting in a loss to Tunis in 2021 and the first resulting in their only victory in 1976. In four meetings we have beaten them twice and lost to them twice, though they got the last laugh in last year's quarter final. This is the greatest possible opportunity for revenge, so we'd better take it and fulfill our destiny.

First Leg
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A huge win in Cape Town. Our talisman Nhlapo got us off the mark from the spot on 19', and Brown got a big second goal a few minutes before the half. That would be all we got, so the question was whether it would be enough to win the tie heading into Algiers.

Second Leg
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It was more than enough. After 7 seasons, we have finally captured the CAF Champions League title! The second leg was a total romp, as we put the tie completely out of reach in the first half. Fan favorite Nkosinathi Madlala scored our first and budding superstar Manqoba Nhlapo bagged a brace, but what will be remembered most from this match was a glorious swan song from our legend Thabo Mosadi, who in his final game as a player scored twice on Africa's biggest stage, including this unbelievable strike for his second:

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This goal actually brought me to tears. What. A. Hit. :eek:

The tie finished 7-1 on aggregate, as MC Alger were no match for us when it mattered most. With our loss from last year avenged and our main goal at Ajax Cape Town achieved, Shaka Roosevelt could finally rest assured knowing he had brought his team to the top.

---

Final League Table

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Another dominant season, as we set records for most goals scored, least conceded, most points, and most wins in a season. We also finished with a 14-point gap to second place, one point better than last year, and for the second time on the save lost just once in 30 matches. 

City had a very good season and were the only team to beat us in the league, but were still nowhere close to us. Tuks continue their amazing ascent up the table with a fourth-placed finish, earning African qualification for the first time. Highlands Park managed another top-half finish even with three domestic cups and a Champions League semi final run to contend with this season. Pirates and Maritzburg finished in the bottom half again. TS Sporting stayed up in their first-ever Premiership season but in any other year would have at best been in a relegation playoff. That's because the bottom three were all exceptionally bad. Newly-promoted Royal Eagles recorded the least points of any club on this save with a pathetic 11, and Cape Umoya put up just 15, going down in the playoff and scoring just one point in it. That meant Free State stayed up with only 15 points as well, avoiding the playoff on goal difference, but by no means was it deserved.

Promoted from First Division:
Tshakhuma, Witbank Spurs
It'll be another Premiership debut for Witbank next season, who got a perfect four wins from four in the playoff.

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Orlando Pirates (9th title)

Telkom Knockout Winners:
Tuks (1st title)
Another trophy for Tuks. This club are really on a roll.

MTN 8 Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (5th title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (1st title)

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Kaizer Chiefs (3rd title)
Chiefs grab the Confederation Cup title for a record-equalling third time, with all three achieved on this save. Tuks did magnificently to reach the semi final, but Chiefs were too much for them. Overall this was a really strong knockout stage field that could easily have passed for a CL one.

CAF Super Cup Winners:
Al-Ahly (8th title)

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Awards

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Nkosinathi Madlala won our player of the season award after recording 8 goals and 18 assists, the assist total tying a club record set by Mosadi a few seasons ago. The now 23-year-old who we signed as a teenager for almost nothing from Uthongathi in our third season has blossomed into an absolute star, and of anyone at the club I think he has the most potential to stick around and become the next club legend in the same vein as Mosadi or Verhaar.

Bennett Khumalo made it a hat trick of goalkeeper of the season awards in what will likely be his last season for us, and Shaka Roosevelt became manager of the season for the third time after two seasons elsewhere on the podium, but I think Brian Sebapole was more deserving for his excellent work with Tuks.

Best XI
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So many players had fantastic seasons for us that I don't think I can list them all. We'll start with Manqoba Nhlapo, who scored a whopping 27 goals for us this season; significantly more than either Thomas Verhaar or Moussa Kanta had managed in seasons past. I'm delighted that we were able to get our young star back on loan this season (with another season still to come) and he fully realized his potential for us this campaign. Muzi Thidiela and Nithaar Smith were dual-threat weapons at center back, as they scored 7 and 6 goals respectively. Riyaaz Koopstadt set a personal goals record with 5 at defensive midfield. Recent academy graduate Charles Xulu was brilliant in his rookie season, scoring 7 and setting up 5. Tshepo Dlamini made a big step up, as after spending years as a peripheral player he scored 5 and assisted 11. Thando Shabalala was quietly brilliant, scoring 12 goals in just 21 appearances. Zine Zenasni didn't make the bench, but he had a solid debut season with 12 goals of his own. Thabo Mosadi didn't either, but he retires as Ajax Cape Town's greatest-ever player with 60 goals and 68 assists in 269 appearances, including 6 and 6 in this final season. 

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Tracker
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Our main goal in South Africa has been completed, though I would like to at least stick around to give the Club World Cup a shot before taking a look at jobs in the Netherlands. In the meantime, I'll be happy to stay here to develop our young players, go for a clean sweep or unbeaten season, and push the club as far as possible towards becoming the greatest side in South African and African history.

Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

Edited by oriole01
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16 horas atrás, oriole01 disse:

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Ajax Cape Town
2024/25 season

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Summer Transfers
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It was a busy summer this time, especially on the outgoing side, as more foreign clubs came in for my players than ever before. Augustine Mahlonoka was unhappy with his playing time and left for Rapid Wien, and we only ended up making a tiny profit on him. Bheki Sono went to Heerenveen, though I was happy to sanction this transfer as in the two years since his breakout season he had rarely stood out. I wasn't as prepared to lose Keegan Johannes to Twente as he was a fantastic player for us, but he wanted the move. We got $1.5 million for star keeper Bennett Khumalo from Lazio, as well as his services back on loan for the season, so this was a good deal. Two-time Premiership player of the year Sbusiso Mabiliso left for ADO Den Haag, and Kiyaam Bull left for good this time to Groningen, who will surely give him a lot more games than Porto did. We netted our biggest-ever fee for star striker Moussa Kanta, who were able to negotiate $3 million away from PSG for. On deadline day Porto came calling once again, grabbing second-choice keeper Manu Mejías and huge striker prospect Manqoba Nhlapo, though I was able to secure the return of the latter for two seasons on loan, as he hadn't had the chance to properly get going down here and I wanted to see what he could do. Khaya Mfecane and Kyle Christian went back out on loan after neither did much in their previous spell, with the hope that both would turn into permanent moves. Lastly, we made the tough decisions to release Guy Romain Kpéa and Keenan Abrahams, as the former's work permit problem had not resolved itself and the latter I felt had stagnated in terms of growth despite being a solid player for us since the beginning of the save and was standing in the way of too many younger prospects at center back. Kpéa signed for a club in Saudi Arabia and Abrahams signed for Mamelodi Sundowns.

On the incoming side, we balanced replacing the players that left with adding more depth to the club in the form of young prospects. Mahlonoka's replacement at AM was the Australian Daniel Ruiz, an absolute gem of a player I was able to bring in on a free after he left the Canberra Academy. I signed prospect Aden Memela as cover for the left back position from Jomo Cosmos, where he had had a good season in the second tier. For the first time ever I decided to sign a player who had been a starter at one of the big clubs, as we went in for Sundowns' center back Muzi Thidiela, who looks ready to contribute right away. I took a "if you can't beat em, sign em" mentality with MC Alger's striker Zine Zenasni, whose two goals in last year's CL quarter final were responsible for our elimination. He will compete for the lone striker spot left by Kanta with Nhlapo. We also made a future-oriented signing of another striker in Bloemfontein Celtic's 17-year-old Mbongeni Devitt, who looks to have all the potential in the world but isn't quite there yet, so we loaned him back to Bloem for the rest of the season and we'll see how he performs in the second tier.

We've made a lot of promotions from the youth team as well, as midfielder Charles Xulu, center back Luyanda Bacela, goalkeeper Nicholas Zulu, and left back Maxwell February have entered the first team. Xulu looks like he could be the next Ayanda Mkhize, and February looks like a perfect replacement for Mabiliso, so we'll be keeping an eye on their progress this season.

Lastly, Thabo Mosadi announced that this would be his final season as a player.

---

First Period
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Another dominant start to the season, though it was disappointing to lose the iKapa Derby to Cape Town City. We made it an incredible four in a row in the MTN 8, this time with a surprise opponent in the final in last year's eighth-placed team Golden Arrows. All three of our strikers have started well, and so has Daniel Ruiz.

Second Period
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We continued rolling into the end of 2024 with just one loss in 13 games, though it was costly as Tuks knocked us out of the Telkom Knockout at the semi final stage after beating us in the Nedbank Cup semi last season. We also got out to a good start in the Champions League group and almost took maximum points from a stretch of five consecutive away games in the league to end the year, with Tuks foiling us again in Pretoria.

Winter Transfers
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We lost another player to a foreign club, as Cincinnati came in for our starting left back Zairon Kekana. Though the MLS isn't a place I would sell my players to without question, we had both Maxwell February and summer signing Aden Memela at his position, so I didn't stand in the way of the move.

We signed free agent attacking midfielder Kobamelo Kodisang (seen in the summer screenshot), who had been a good young player at Bidvest Wits in seasons past but had been let go and was struggling to find a new club, and I didn't want to see a player with his ability forced into an early retirement. At the very least I hope to give him a career rehab session here so that he can attract the interest of a club that will give him playing time, and if he does well then he can be a part of our future plans.

Third Period
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For some reason we had two Champions League games in January, but we had no trouble readjusting to competitive play. We got a measure of retribution against MC Alger by beating them 4-2 in Algiers, but a 3-1 loss at home meant we would need to meet and defeat them in the knockout stages for the record to truly be set straight. We destroyed Nchanga Rangers and ES Sahel in the other remaining games to finish top of the group, just ahead of Alger on goal difference, then breezed past ES Sétif in the quarter final behind a pair of 3-0 wins.

We also advanced to the Nedbank Cup semi final thanks to late winners from Nhlapo against SuperSport and Dante Brown against Wits.

Fourth Period
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We drew compatriots Highlands Park in the Champions League semi final, and though I was delighted to have seen them come this far, we ensured their run came to an end. A brace from Nhlapo in the first leg and two vintage performances from Thabo Mosadi saw us well through 6-2 on aggregate, meaning for the first time we have reached the final!

We rounded out the league campaign on great form to wrap up yet another title, though we were taken down in the Nedbank Cup semi final by Orlando Pirates, who went on to win the competition in a Soweto Derby final. That meant there was only one order of business left...

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2025 CAF Champions League Final

The Path
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A big upset in the quarter final saw Zamalek eliminate ES Tunis in a thrilling tie to finally end their run of seven finals in a row, but they were in turn beaten by MC Alger. Alger have reached their third final, the second resulting in a loss to Tunis in 2021 and the first resulting in their only victory in 1976. In four meetings we have beaten them twice and lost to them twice, though they got the last laugh in last year's quarter final. This is the greatest possible opportunity for revenge, so we'd better take it and fulfill our destiny.

First Leg
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A huge win in Cape Town. Our talisman Nhlapo got us off the mark from the spot on 19', and Brown got a big second goal a few minutes before the half. That would be all we got, so the question was whether it would be enough to win the tie heading into Algiers.

Second Leg
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It was more than enough. After 7 seasons, we have finally captured the CAF Champions League title! The second leg was a total romp, as we put the tie completely out of reach in the first half. Fan favorite Nkosinathi Madlala scored our first and budding superstar Manqoba Nhlapo bagged a brace, but what will be remembered most from this match was a glorious swan song from our legend Thabo Mosadi, who in his final game as a player scored twice on Africa's biggest stage, including this unbelievable strike for his second:

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This goal actually brought me to tears. What. A. Hit. :eek:

The tie finished 7-1 on aggregate, as MC Alger were no match for us when it mattered most. With our loss from last year avenged and our main goal at Ajax Cape Town achieved, Shaka Roosevelt could finally rest assured knowing he had brought his team to the top.

---

Final League Table

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Another dominant season, as we set records for most goals scored, least conceded, most points, and most wins in a season. We also finished with a 14-point gap to second place, one point better than last year, and for the second time on the save lost just once in 30 matches. City had a very good season and were the only team to beat us in the league, but were still nowhere close to us. Tuks continue their amazing ascent up the table with a fourth-placed finish, earning African qualification for the first time. Highlands Park managed another top-half finish even with three domestic cups and a Champions League semi final run to contend with this season. Pirates and Maritzburg finished in the bottom half again. TS Sporting stayed up in their first-ever Premiership season but in any other year would have at best been in a relegation playoff. That's because the bottom three were all exceptionally bad. Newly-promoted Royal Eagles recorded the least points of any club on this save with a pathetic 11, and Cape Umoya put up just 15, going down in the playoff and scoring just one point in it. That meant Free State stayed up with only 15 points as well, avoiding the playoff on goal difference, but by no means was it deserved.

Promoted from First Division:
Tshakhuma, Witbank Spurs
It'll be another Premiership debut for Witbank next season, who got a perfect four wins from four in the playoff.

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Orlando Pirates (9th title)

Telkom Knockout Winners:
Tuks (1st title)
Another trophy for Tuks. This club are really on a roll.

MTN 8 Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (5th title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (1st title)

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Kaizer Chiefs (3rd title)
Chiefs grab the Confederation Cup title for a record-equalling third time, with all three achieved on this save. Tuks did magnificently to reach the semi final, but Chiefs were too much for them. Overall this was a really strong knockout stage field that could easily have passed for a CL one.

CAF Super Cup Winners:
Al-Ahly (8th title)

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Awards

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Nkosinathi Madlala won our player of the season award after recording 8 goals and 18 assists, the assist total tying a club record set by Mosadi a few seasons ago. The now 23-year-old who we signed as a teenager for almost nothing from Uthongathi in our third season has blossomed into an absolute star, and of anyone at the club I think he has the most potential to stick around and become the next club legend in the same vein as Mosadi or Verhaar.

Bennett Khumalo made it a hat trick of goalkeeper of the season awards in what will likely be his last season for us, and Shaka Roosevelt became manager of the season for the third time after two seasons elsewhere on the podium, but I think Brian Sebapole was more deserving for his excellent work with Tuks.

Best XI
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So many players had fantastic seasons for us that I don't think I can list them all. We'll start with Manqoba Nhlapo, who scored a whopping 27 goals for us this season; significantly more than either Thomas Verhaar or Moussa Kanta had managed in seasons past. I'm delighted that we were able to get our young star back on loan this season (with another season still to come) and he fully realized his potential for us this campaign. Muzi Thidiela and Nithaar Smith were dual-threat weapons at center back, as they scored 7 and 6 goals respectively. Riyaaz Koopstadt set a personal goals record with 5 at defensive midfield. Recent academy graduate Charles Xulu was brilliant in his rookie season, scoring 7 and setting up 5. Tshepo Dlamini made a big step up, as after spending years as a peripheral player he scored 5 and assisted 11. Thando Shabalala was quietly brilliant, scoring 12 goals in just 21 appearances. Zine Zenasni didn't make the bench, but he had a solid debut season with 12 goals of his own. Thabo Mosadi didn't either, but he retires as Ajax Cape Town's greatest-ever player with 60 goals and 68 assists in 269 appearances, including 6 and 6 in this final season. 

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Tracker
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Our main goal in South Africa has been completed, though I would like to at least stick around to give the Club World Cup a shot before taking a look at jobs in the Netherlands. In the meantime, I'll be happy to stay here to develop our young players, go for a clean sweep or unbeaten season, and push the club as far as possible towards becoming the greatest side in South African and African history.

Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

so you will stay at south africa until you wait from the ajax job when someone else will ended up get sacked or leaving 

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Ajax Cape Town
2025/26 Season

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Summer Transfers
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We were decently busy on the outgoing side again. The saga of Victor Balogun finally came to an end this summer, as we let him go on a free to Enugu Rangers, the same club we had purchased him from for a South African record $1.4 million four years ago... they'll be laughing all the way to the bank on that one. Balogun had a great start to his career here but that transfer debacle with Porto really ruined things for him, as although he had at least managed to get back on the pitch semi-frequently in the last two seasons, he was never again a key player for us here and was hardly worth the price tag. We sold versatile midfielder Cade Erickson to VVV-Venlo, who had quietly carved out a place as a solid role player for us over the years as either a Regista, Mezzala, or BBM. I was happy to see him get a European move. Also off to the Netherlands was Riyaaz Koopstadt to Vitesse, who has now left us for the second time but should be in a much better position to advance his career this time around. One of my favorite players, Koopstadt holds one of many special places in my heart for his contributions here. Khaya Mfecane's loan move to Wits was turned permanent, and we released Kyle Christian after his loan club Highlands Park didn't offer to sign him. He later signed for a club in Saudi Arabia. Mbongeni Devitt went back out on loan, this time to a Premiership club in Golden Arrows. Charles Xulu was snapped up by Porto for $1 million after just a year in the first team, but once again I was able to get him back on loan for this season.

We brought in just one new face this summer, as following Bennett Khumalo's return to Lazio I needed a new number one. Maritzburg's Costi Christodoulou had always impressed me when we'd faced him, and luckily we were able to sign him for free as he hadn't signed a new contract prior to the end of last season. Costi has all the makings of our next great keeper, and I have faith he will fill Khumalo's shoes just as Khumalo filled Jody February's shoes before him.

We promoted midfielder Themba Ngema, left winger Michael Dladla, right back Humphrey Nkosi, left back Marc Bolo, and center back Teboho Zwane to the first team.

---

First Period, Start of Second Period
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I'm having to do things differently because due to our participation in the Club World Cup and perhaps some other factors, we played only 11 league games before the new year. So here's the first half of our season.

Our crazy run of four MTN 8 wins in a row was finally halted, as SuperSport beat us on penalties at the first hurdle. We lifted the CAF Super Cup for the second time (and the first as CL winners) after a hard-fought victory over Kaizer Chiefs in which Imraan Erasmus scored a late winner. We went through our first 11 league games unbeaten, conceding just three goals in that stretch. We went through Champions League qualifying without a hitch and went three for three to start group play, beating MC Alger again in a rematch of the final, with Zine Zenasni scoring against his former club. We won the Telkom Knockout without conceding a single goal, blanking Golden Arrows, Highlands Park, Pirates, and Chiefs in our most dominant cup run yet.

The big highlight was the Club World Cup in India. I wish I could have gone into more detail, but since we fell at the first hurdle, I don't think there would have been much point. We had the belief we could beat Mexican side and North American champions Tigres, but belief could only go so far as we took them the distance and fell on penalties. We did at least thrash the host nation's representative East Bengal 6-0 to take fifth place, but our first run at this competition left a lot more to be desired. We'll see if we have the opportunity to come back. Bayern Munich ended up winning the competition, beating Santos in the final.

Winter Transfers
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We said goodbye to Togolese striker Kossi Mustafa, who never really developed into the player we wanted him to be. He started off well in the first couple seasons he was here, albeit scoring against weak opponents, but he didn't make an impression in the important matches and fell down the pecking order to the point where he didn't play at all last season or in the first half of this season. In that time he was at least able to acquire South African citizenship, which has likely spared him an early retirement. He's off to second-tier side The Magic for a fresh start. We loaned out Kobamelo Kodisang to SuperSport, as he hasn't been able to get much game time here, and Michael Dladla, whose promotion to the first team has been a big disappointment so far, with no goals or assists in 13 games. Hopefully at Maritzburg he can get his act together.

End of Second Period, Third Period
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A sea of green in the first few months of 2026. We finished with a perfect record in the Champions League group, as we beat MC Alger yet again and rained down goals on Stade Malien and ES Sétif. We drew Chiefs in the quarter final during a stretch in which we had to play them four times in just over two weeks... and we won all four of them, advancing to the CL semis after a pair of 1-0 wins and doing the double over them in the league with a 6-0 thrashing in Cape Town doing the most damage. We've also advanced to the Nedbank Cup semi final after convincing wins over Bloem Celtic, Highlands Park, and Wits.

It took us until April to suffer our first outright defeat of the season, as Tuks dashed our hopes of an unbeaten league season with a 92nd-minute winner.

Fourth Period
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We started out the final period by completely embarrassing our rivals Cape Town City in the Champions League semi final, blasting through them 9-1 on aggregate and managing to drop six on Tshakhuma in between the two legs. City did hold us scoreless in the league after that, but there's no doubt what the bigger occasion was. We lifted the Nedbank Cup for the fourth time on this save, grinding through Pirates in the semi final and easing past Sundowns in the final.

It ended up being an easy defense of our Champions League crown, as surprise finalists Enugu Rangers- who we had previously met in the 2020 Confederation Cup final- were no match for us this time either, as we got a narrow win in Nigeria before bringing down the hurt in Cape Town for a 5-0 win. We are clearly the best side in Africa now, if there was any remaining doubt, and we will return to the Club World Cup next season hopefully with a better performance up our sleeve.

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Final League Table
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Another incredible Premiership campaign, as although we couldn't quite surpass the points or wins total we put up last season, we somehow let in even fewer goals this season, setting a new and perhaps unbeatable record of just 14 conceded in 30 games. We again finished with only one loss as the unbeaten season continues to just barely evade us.

The fact that Chiefs even came within ten points of us is incredible in itself, as they recorded the most points of any team not to win the title on this save at least. A great season for them, but there was no stopping us. The Tuks miracle continues as they reached even higher by finishing third in the table. Sundowns and Maritzburg finished in the bottom half, TS Sporting made an improvement on last season, and Witbank stayed up in their first Premiership campaign. Highlands Park suffered a big drop-off this year, finishing 14th and only avoiding the relegation playoff on goal difference. That unfortunately meant it was curtains for Micho Sredojević, the man who brought them to second in the league and a CL semi final :(Free State managed to stay up in the playoff after putting together a not-quite-as-terrible performance compared to last season, thus Tshakhuma were the only team to go down in last place.

Promoted from First Division:
Richards Bay

Nedbank Cup Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (5th title)

Telkom Knockout Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (5th title)

MTN 8 Winners:
Mamelodi Sundowns (4th title)

CAF Champions League Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (2nd title)

CAF Confederation Cup Winners:
Tuks (1st title)
Wow, this is unbelievable. Tuks have now gone and claimed a continental trophy, knocking out Tétouan, Pirates, and Aduana Stars en route to the Confederation Cup title. Brian Sebapole deserves a statue!

CAF Super Cup Winners:
Ajax Cape Town (2nd title)

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Awards
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Tshepo Dlamini won our player of the season award for his contribution of 9 goals and 8 assists, though I think there were more deserving candidates this time.

Christodoulou continued our tradition of goalkeeper of the year awards, as he gave up just 8 goals in 18 games. Shaka Roosevelt won manager of the season again, this time beating Sebapole by just 7 manager points. Our on-loan youth striker Linda Cele had a great season at Wits, making the team of the season and winning young player of the year after scoring 18 league goals and 22 total. That will definitely earn him a shot at the first team next year.

Most impressively, Manqoba Nhlapo earned recognition at the African level, finishing second in African Striker of the Year voting and making the full African XI of the Year alongside the likes of Salah, Keïta, Koulibaly, Hakimi, and our very own Ayanda Mkhize. He also made the Inter-XI, composed exclusively of players playing within Africa.

Best XI
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Another season in which our whole squad was firing on all cylinders. Maxwell February went nuts at left back, contributing 12 assists. Martin Green had a fantastic season at DM, scoring 7 goals and setting up 5 to set the benchmark for the Regista role being played to its finest. Grant MargemanImraan Erasmus, and Bongani Modisane all reached double figures in the midfield, and Daniel Ruiz also had an excellent sophomore season at AM with 11 goals and 7 assists. Nkosinathi Madlala set a new assists record with an incredible 23 in addition to 9 goals, firmly establishing himself as Mosadi's successor. Nhlapo cracked the 20-goal mark again in what will probably be the end of the line for him here, as he looks destined for bigger and better things at Porto. Zine Zenasni improved on last season's total with 14 goals this time. Case in point, Dlamini didn't even make the Best XI bench. He certainly had a good season, but not better than that of most of his teammates.

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Tracker
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Another unreal season, in which we won everything presented to us apart from the MTN 8 and obviously the Club World Cup, making it our first five-trophy season. With no attractive job prospects having opened up in the Netherlands yet, it looks like I will remain at Ajax Cape Town for now to give the CWC another crack and try once again to achieve the domestic/African clean sweep and get that unbeaten league season.

Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

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1 hour ago, HugoLazgo12 said:

so you will stay at south africa until you wait from the ajax job when someone else will ended up get sacked or leaving 

Pretty much, though the original plan was to manage somewhere in the Dutch second tier and build up a club there before going for the Ajax job. However, at this point in the save, if the Ajax job does come up I will definitely apply.

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17 minutos atrás, oriole01 disse:

Pretty much, though the original plan was to manage somewhere in the Dutch second tier and build up a club there before going for the Ajax job. However, at this point in the save, if the Ajax job does come up I will definitely apply.

hold up right there maybe one day maybe you will get the ajax job

and once you get the Ajax Job will you take the players from Ajax cape town with you and playing with them until they become better and good and big clubs will offer your players from Like more money

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7 minutes ago, HugoLazgo12 said:

hold up right there maybe one day maybe you will get the ajax job

and once you get the Ajax Job will you take the players from Ajax cape town with you and playing with them until they become better and good and big clubs will offer your players from Like more money

That's very much a possibility, stay tuned!

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South Africa
July 2026

Though it wasn't part of my original plans for the save, ever since the second year or so I had been keeping my eye on the South Africa job. The job first came open in 2019 after Bafana Bafana had finished bottom of their group at the Cup of Nations that year and manager Stuart Baxter was sacked. I threw my hat in the ring back then, but having only just been promoted from the second tier with Ajax Cape Town, I didn't yet have the right credentials and the job went to Gordon Igesund, a very experienced manager who had taken charge of the team before from 2012-2014.

Igesund ended up doing a fantastic job, bringing South Africa from below 80th in the world rankings into the top 20, winning both the Cup of Nations and the CHAN twice. He managed the side in two World Cups, gaining just one point in the group stage in 2022 but benefitting from the new format this year in 2026, as they drew Italy and beat Uzbekistan to advance out of the group, but fell to Serbia in the Round of 32.

After seven years in charge of the national side, Igesund finally decided to call it quits after the World Cup and retired at the age of 70 soon after leaving the post. This is where I come in. Now having gained the reputation as South Africa's and probably Africa's greatest-ever club manager, it's time for me to see what I can do on the international stage.

Admittedly there isn't much more room to improve, as we have already won the Cup of Nations back-to-back, so my job will be all about retaining the successes of Igesund and seeing if we can go any further than he did in the World Cup, which is another long four years away from now. On a personal level, this will be a fantastic opportunity to get to manage the players that have moved on from Ajax Cape Town again, especially guys like Ayanda Mkhize, Manqoba Nhlapo, and Bennett Khumalo who are all special talents.

Rest of 2026
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My start as South Africa manager didn't exactly go according to plan, as we were surprisingly held to a draw by Botswana in Gaborone, who came back from two down. After a scoreless draw against Egypt, I was left wondering whether my club tactics were going to work at international level, but it appears the players got used to them in time, as without changing much we got friendly wins against DR Congo and Iran with a lot of goals in tow, then brought that momentum back into the qualifying matches with big wins over Togo and Botswana. Sporting Lisbon's striker Lyle Foster scored four goals in those last two matches, showing me that there will be fierce competition for the number nine shirt between him, Nhlapo, and Manchester City striker David Lebusa in the years to come.

Qualifying Table

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We easily qualified for the 2027 Cup of Nations in Cameroon, after Igesund had won the first two games back in March. Thus the quest for a three-peat truly begins now.

Gaan! Gaan! Gaan!

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