Earlier this year, the Urban Warriors revealed plans of their eagerly-anticipated Lamda Institute, with the aim of housing 30 youngsters – rising up to 50 in future – from all over Africa who would be able to live, train and receive schooling from the newly-built facility at Ikamva.
With the building now receiving its final touches before completion, doubts had been raised over whether or not Ajax would continue with its implementation, considering the club’s precarious position and courtroom attempts to fight relegation amid the ongoing Tendai Ndoro saga.
Yet Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou insists the club will continue as they have always done, with a high regard for the development of young talent, with the Lambda Institute uncompromised.
“Ajax will remain committed to the principles of what we do,” he said. “What we do is give opportunities to youngsters. We started laying the first block of the academy at the end of January, and were already in this predicament. It would have been easy to retract at the time and not spend a cent of what we’ve currently spent, but we decided that the commitment to what we do must remain and decided to stay with it.
“The academy unofficially opens on Monday with the first intake of the kids, and hopefully officially within the next four weeks.”
Efstathiou says the club’s initiative is “far beyond” what rivals clubs have done in terms of youth development, and feels it proves their credibility as a top-flight side.
“There can be no other show of confidence of Ajax being in the Premier Soccer League than what we’ve done with the Lamda Institute,” he said. “It’s far beyond what any of the other clubs have done, even in the predicament we currently find ourselves.”
Ajax is hoping to halt the start of the 2018/19 season, with the application for this interdict set to be heard in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.