Ajax star defender Rivaldo Coetzee still AWOL
Ajax Cape Town are facing a crisis at centre-back this season with Rivaldo Coetzee agitating for a move away following the news that Lawrence Lartey has signed for Tunisian side Club Africain.
Roscoe Pietersen is the only player with any semblance of experience at centre-back in the squad‚ and with Coetzee having not returned for pre-season training‚ things are looking dire for coach Stanley Menzo.
Ajax have reportedly slapped a US$1-million price-tag on the 20-year-old‚ who has made no secret of his desire to move to Europe.
But even as an established international‚ that is a heavy investment for clubs on a player that is untested in the European environment and in a position that is so key.
As teams across Europe struggle financially‚ there has also been a flood of free agents in the market‚ players who come with experience and cost nothing.
It has led Coetzee to a stand-off with the club.
TimesLIVE was not able to make contact with either his agent Mike Makaab‚ or Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou.
“We will have to see what happens‚ but I have made no secret of the fact that I would like to go overseas‚” Coetzee told TimesLIVE recently.
“There is nothing concrete yet‚ but we will see what the coming months bring.
"It has always been my ambition to play overseas and that has not changed.”
But his absence from training is a bitter blow to Menzo‚ who was worried by the fragility of his backline last season‚ even with Coetzee in it.
The loss of Lartey is another worry‚ with the Ghana junior international having featured in 20 games for the team last season.
He failed to reach an agreement with the club for a new contract and leaves after two seasons‚ heading to Club Africain in what is a big step up for the 23-year-old.