Ajax bolster youth set-up


Rowley, who represented Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath in Scotland, before captaining NFL outfit Rangers during the 1960s, has been appointed head of youth development; while Links is due to take over one of the youth teams as soon as he has become more familiar with the way things are done at the club.

“For the past five years I’ve been involved primarily with Old Mutual’s U-13, U-17 and senior youth teams, so when the opportunity again arose to join forces with my mentor at Ajax, I just couldn’t let it pass by,” says Links who played for Battswood, Cape Town Spurs and Hellenic.

“At the moment I’m beginning to understand the way the Ajax setup works and will eventually be given a team to coach. There is a definite way of how we do things at the club and one needs to understand the Ajax culture. We have not severed our ties with Old Mutual and may even sign some of their players in the future as Cape Town is a very small place, and Ajax is always for the best talent.”

Rowley was one of the first men in SA to earn himself a full Uefa coaching badge, and has been instrumental at youth level for many years. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he ensured that Rangers’ junior teams had the correct structures in place, was later a scout for Portsmouth FC before returning to Africa where he ran a Mobil-sponsored youth programme for Langa and Kyalitsha youngsters in the mid-1980s.

And after nearly five years at the helm of the Old Mutual Academy, the 69-year-old is looking forward to yet another challenge, hoping Ajax can produce even more star players like Clifford Ngobeni, Bryce Moon and Thembinkosi ‘Terror’ Fanteni.

“My objective is to make sure that Ajax continues to produce the best top-quality youngsters, and I will leave no stone unturned in my efforts. The club’s mission statement is very clear, they are highly focussed, very motivated and always looking at the bigger picture,” he adds.