Ajax downplays Amsterdam rift

HOLDING FIRE: Ajax Cape Town chief executive George Comitis
       PHOTO: Gallo IMAGES
HOLDING FIRE: Ajax Cape Town chief executive George Comitis PHOTO: Gallo IMAGES

AJAX Cape Town say any possible pull-out by their Dutch partners will prove no easy affair as the two parties have a long-term contract.

Chief executive George Comitis said he did not want to get involved in a slanging match with Amsterdam's technical director Marc Overmars, who at the weekend blasted the South African affiliate club for the departure of coach Jan Versleijen and the appointment of Muhsin Ertugral.

Overmars suggested that the Urban Warriors had not proven the expected success it was hoped they would be and that Amsterdam would now look at ways of getting out of the deal, even if it cost them money.

In reaction, Comitis said he was disappointed Overmars, the former Arsenal star, had spoken to the media about his concerns. "I'm not happy with the fact that he went public, but I'm not going to retaliate or say anything and we'll deal with it at the next board meeting."

But he did add: "Overmars voiced his opinion that Amsterdam should have been part of the decision because it was a technical matter. But contractually, they are not obliged to be part of that decision because a management committee was formed a while ago to deal with these decisions and it is made up of myself and Ari (Efstathiou) and that is where decisions are made.

"I actually represent Ajax Amsterdam on that manco. Overmars was upset because Versleijen resigned. The intention was not for Versleijen to resign (when they roped in Ertugral last week), but to back him up with what we thought he lacked and which was shown up in recent games."

Versleijen, who had won just once in 11 matches since taking over in late January, quit last Thursday morning after finding out in the press that Ertugral was to be appointed as technical director and would be his new boss.

Overmars suggested that the new leadership in Amsterdam - made up of high-profile former players influenced by former club great Johan Cruyff - were struggling to see the value of their association with the Cape affiliate.

"We have only got Enoh Eyong and Thulani Serero from them in recent years but we had to pay a transfer sum for both. These are the biggest deals they've ever made and that is the money they are still surviving on," alleged Overmars of Cape Town's cash flow.

"I think he's forgetting about (Steven) Pienaar," retorted Comitis.