Hans Vonk and Andries Ulderink break their silence on Ajax Cape Town exit

Hans Vonk has left Ajax Cape Town.
Hans Vonk has left Ajax Cape Town.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Former Ajax Cape Town Head of Football Hans Vonk and coach Andries Ulderink have issued a joint statement following their resignation from the GladAfrica Championship side.

The pair addressed the letter to the club’s fans as they seek to clear the air following confirmation that Vonk has been suspended by Ajax for what the club termed “serious charges of misconduct”.

Vonk and Ulderink outlined the roles they have played in getting the club to the top of the second-tier and on course for promotion‚ and also accused Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou of going against the wishes of mother club Ajax Amsterdam to take over team affairs last month.

It ends a successful stay at the club for both men‚ with Vonk confirming he has now resigned following his suspension.

“On Monday‚ 3rd February 2020‚ Ari Efstathiou issued a statement about the resignation of coach Andries Ulderink and the suspension of Hans Vonk‚ the Head of Football. Hans has subsequently resigned as well‚” the statement said.

“Through this open letter to all Ajax fans‚ we would like to share our side of the story.

"In December 2018‚ we started our journey together at Ajax CT. Hans as Head of Football and Andries as head coach.

“Together‚ we had one goal: to bring Ajax CT back to the PSL. In addition to that‚ we wanted to bring back a culture fitting with Ajax CT.

"This is a culture that has made Ajax CT successful in the past 20 years‚ but sadly‚ little remained of that culture in the last few years.

“When we started in our new roles‚ our first team was in 11th place in the National First Division (NFD). We ended the 2018/2019 season in 4th place‚ only 1 goal away from a spot in the play-offs.

“The hard work of Andries and his technical team is paying off. Ajax CT is currently at the top of the NFD and was playing a role in the cup competition for the first time in years.

“Unfortunately‚ things were turbulent behind the scenes. Since January 2020 Ari Efstathiou had again taken over all football-related matters‚ against the wishes of Ajax Amsterdam‚ Ajax CT’s major shareholder and to our disquiet.

“At the beginning of January‚ an intense internal discussion took place concerning the policies that have been implemented and as a result Hans was suspended because of alleged ‘serious charges of misconduct’.

“It is regrettable that Hans’s conduct‚ and views on the running of Ajax CT‚ have been distorted.

"The fans know Hans. He has been a loyal supporter of South African football all his life.

"The charges have not been formulated or substantiated and Hans denies any wrongdoing or actions that could remotely be regarded as serious misconduct.

"There is nothing Hans cares more about than the development of South African (youth) football and the success of Ajax CT.

“To resolve this matter‚ we jointly requested Ari to lift Hans’ suspension and not to interfere with the winning combination of Hans and Andries and the Ajax CT team.

"We assured Ari that we would finish the season together and ensure that the club wins the championship. At the end of this season‚ we could part ways with the club.

“Ari was not prepared to agree to our proposal and the situation at Ajax CT therefore become highly untenable for both of us‚ and this is why we resigned.

“We are grateful to have had the privilege of working for this great club.

"We wish the supporters and all others involved much success in the upcoming months. We hope our PSL dream comes true.”

Efstathiou previously told TimesLIVE that he felt the pair were blackmailing him and that he had no option but to suspend Vonk‚ and subsequently accept the resignation of Ulderink.

“How do you allow an employee to threaten resignation based on another reason?” Efstathiou said.

“Are we acting professionally or emotionally? I had no option but to accept his resignation.

“I tried to convince him [Ulderink] not to‚ but he insisted. It is disruptive‚ he has done exceptionally well for us‚ his win record has been fantastic.

"I think we have averaged close to two points per game while he was here and so he has been good for the club. It’s a sad situation.”

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