Rivaldo Coetzee’s transfer fee one of biggest for Ajax

Coetzee becomes the latest player from the Ajax assembly line to join a European club‚ he follows the likes of Steven Pienaar‚ Daylon Claasen and Thulani Serero.

Ajax Cape Town's Rivaldo Coetzee. Picture: Twitter/@ajaxcapetown

CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town chairman Ari Efstathiou has told EWN Sport that Rivaldo Coetzee’s impending transfer (subject to medical) to Scottish Giants Glasgow Celtic will see the club receive one of its biggest transfer fees ever.

Reports suggest the fee to be in the region of £750 000 (R12.7 million) but Efstathiou would not confirm the figure while adding Celtic had been interested in a few months in the defender known for his passing range.

“With regards to transfer fees it’s not something we usually say but it’s one of the larger transfer fees that the club has done. It’s one of the top ones, so let me rather leave it at that,” said Efstathiou.

Coetzee hails from Kakamas in the Northern Cape and joined the famous Ajax youth system at 15, the ball playing central defender made his national team and PSL debut at the age of 17.

Highly rated as a teenager, Coetzee was destined to leave Ajax for bigger things and the move to the Scottish champions comes as no surprise to those following his career.

Having become a fixture in the national team and being one the Urban Warriors most consistent performers in recent years, last season he picked up the clubs’ Player of the Season award – however, the player in an attempt to force a transfer went AWOL during pre-season.

The 20-year-old eventually returned and duly apologised to the club for his behaviour. Efstahiou says Coetzee’s pre-season saga was due to external pressures.

“You must remember that players get influenced by external factors and whether those are advisers, whether those are other clubs, whether those are managers, whether they friends or family or whatever. I think what’s important is that we have to remember that we have a plan for each player and we need to stick to the plan.”

He added: “Nobody knows how much work is done behind the scenes. When Rivaldo had the issue at the beginning of the season, it was based on outside influence and I am glad he came and spoke to us and apologised and look what happened three weeks later, it’s unbelievable.”

Efstathiou was also clear that he was not keen on Coetzee joining a local club, he saw the defender’s future abroad.

"We didn’t want Rivaldo to join a South African club, we believed he could easily make it in Europe so we needed to believe in what we set out to do. It would have been easy to let him go to a local club, that wasn’t a problem. There was no doubt for us that he should go to Europe. We just had to make sure we found the right club, that it was a club that would use his talents, he’s not the tallest centre backs but he's got other fantastic talents and we had to find a club that suits that."

Efstathiou says the transfer is a testament to Ajax’s philosophy and planning when it comes to their youth.

"The one thing that needs to be realised is the vision of the club, when we get a player that’s talented we have a plan for him. Obviously, you are under lots of pressure from everywhere. Why aren’t you doing this, why aren’t you doing that? We stuck to our plan and we got him to a fantastic club, it’s a huge club in Europe. He’s going to be basically playing Champions League."

Coetzee becomes the latest player from the Ajax assembly line to join a European club‚ he follows the likes of Steven Pienaar‚ Daylon Claasen and Thulani Serero.

He will also join a club that looks set for Uefa Champions League football, Celtic head into the second leg against FC Astana with 5-0 aggregate lead. The Scottish giants are currently in Kazakhstan for this week’s second leg.