1 September 2017 – There was double excitement for Ajax Cape Town players, defender Dean Solomons and forward Leo Thethani.
Firstly, the duo was selected for the Burger King-sponsored South African U20 Men’s National Team that is currently in England to face Brazil and the host nation, and while they were still in disbelief over that, their parent club Ajax Amsterdam signed them.
They follow in the footsteps of other South African exports like Thulani Serero and Steven Pienaar who moved from Ajax Cape Town to Ajax Amsterdam.
“Actually as I am speaking to you now I am over the moon because Thulani send me a text message to wish me luck. This means a lot to me to get such encouragement from a player like him. I am really happy and it gives me confidence going forward,” said Solomons.
The pair has already played against the South Americans in the first of two matches of the tri-nations tournament – which they lost 4-0.
Solomons started the match but was substituted in the second half due to injury, while Thethani came on in the second stanza.
“First of all I am excited for being called up for the national team – it’s the first time ever I get a call-up of this nature, so I still cant believe it. Secondly, I am glad I got a chance to play for my country. It felt really good to don the national team jersey and it felt so good, even though the results didn’t go our way,” said Solomons.
“I really wasn’t expecting the call up, it came as a complete shock because there is so much talent in South Africa, and so I am really grateful for this opportunity. Playing against Brazil was a dream come true because you often see these matches on television and never think that some day you will also be involved, so it really felt nice.”According to a statement on the and where they put pen to paper.
The cherry on top for the Thethani and Solomons was signing for Ajax Amsterdam. They have been playing together in the Ajax Cape Town juniors for a long time. The documents were sent to the national team base camp in England where they put pen to paper.
According to a statement on the Ajax Cape Town website, ‘Dean Solomons (18) and Leo Thethani (18) will join partner club Ajax Amsterdam in September on their return from London where they are currently on international duty with the South Africa U20 side. This is keeping with the existing licensing agreement which exists between both clubs looking to advance the careers of the Ajax Cape Town youth players.’
The two players will most likely start in the reserve team and work their way to getting a spot in the first team.
“Just making it to Amsterdam is a very big achievement. I don’t think it has sunk in yet, I am still in disbelief. I am getting messages at home from everyone conveying their well wishes. I still need to pinch myself to make sure this is not a dream,” said Solomons.
“But to be honest, it is very exciting because all football players dream of playing in Europe, so this is a dream come true indeed.”
Thethani could not hide his joy too.
“First of all I need to thank God for giving me such an opportunity. I really didn’t expect it so early, my target was to move next year or the following year, but with God’s help it happened sooner. I am very grateful and excited,” said an elated Thethani.
“The good thing is that I am going with my long-time teammate, Dean, so it will make life much easier and we will help each other settle quicker. This also comes at a time when I am in the SA U20 Men’s National Team, so it’s double good news in a very short space of time.”
Thethani grew up in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town.
“There were lots of problems and disadvantages where I grew up, but that didn’t hold me back from achieving my dream. I played for Mighty United, the same team that produced Bafana Bafana star Ayanda Patosi. Then I moved to Ajax Cape Town juniors,” added Thethani.
“A few months ago I was promoted to the senior team, but now here I am on the move again to Ajax Amsterdam – it’s all very surprising, and that’s why I say I didn’t expect the good news so soon. It has been an amazing journey, and I want to believe this is only the beginning.“
Both players will be hoping to get another run in the national team when Amajita takes on England on Monday, 4 September 2017 at Harrison Park, Leek Town.
Kickoff is at 20h30 South African time.
The squad returns home on Wednesday morning (6 September 2017) and is expected to land at the OR Tambo International Airport at 07h00.