De Ligt becomes youngest captain ever in Dutch professional football

Last weekend surely had an awesome ending, as rapidly developing winger Justin Kluivert exploded onto the big screen; making his debut with the first team with an important contribution from the bench. Aside from the big debut though, plenty of other things went on at De Toekomst. And I’m here to show you just what.

Friday the 13th marked the opening of the new year for Jong Ajax, as Marcel Keizer and his boys matched up against the local FC in a snowy Emmen. Matthijs de Ligt wrote history, as he became the youngest ever captain of a professional side in the history of Dutch football. After the pitch had been cleared of the white mush, the game could start. Both sides began rather cautiously, probably because of the bad pitch, and so little happened in the first 30 minutes of the game. Out of nowhere, striker Ezra Walian headed a ball onto the post to bring the match alive; a few chances followed but unfortunately the game headed into scoreless half time.

In the second half, both sides had seemingly found some spirit in the dressing room but it did not lead to any real clear cut chances and goals. Emmen was eventually closest to scoring, with a good header on target, but a great defensive effort prevented a deficit. In injury time, Ajax had their biggest chance to grab a win but a save by Telgenkamp meant the match-up ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw.

The youth leagues were still on a break, but that did not mean there was nothing else to see at De Toekomst this past weekend. As per usual, Ajax had linked up with some other clubs to arrange friendlies for the future of the club. This year, Genk, Feyenoord and Lisse were the opponents of choice. The U12’s and U11’s beat Lisse with 4-0 and 4-1 respectively, whilst the U13’s confidently took care of Feyenoord with 5-1. The U14’s were the only youth side to lose this weekend, in a close 0-1 against Feyenoord, where the U15’s and U16’s took care of their Rotterdam age-mates with 4-1 and 3-1.

The U17’s, lead by Gery Vink, began their game a bit later than planned due to thunderstorm raging above De Toekomst on Saturday. Luckily for the youngsters, the game against their opposition from Belgium did not prove as hazardous as first feared. In the 25th minute, Liam van Gelderen opened the score from a corner kick and before half-time, Giovanni de la Vega doubled Ajax’ lead. In the second half, Genk nicked one back but Ekkelenkamp came off the bench to score and put a 3-1 on the scoreboard.

Due to the same thunderstorm, Winter’s U19 side also began later against their age-mates from Genk. Star of the afternoon would turn out to be 15-year old Daishawn Redan, netting a hattrick as Ajax went on a 6-0 rampage against the Belgium side.

Just within a few minutes, a flying header from Redan (Beb Bakhuys-style) meant a lead for the Godenzonen. From there, it was full steam ahead. Dani de Wit’s header made it 2-0, from a good cross by Darren Sidoel, and Redan netted the third of the afternoon with a cheeky lob over the goalkeeper. Before half time, Sidoel also put himself on the scoresheet with a fabulous free kick and Boy Kempers made it 5-0 from a Redan assist.

The second half was less prolific, as Ajax substituted a great deal, but chances were created, with Mees de Wit and Zian Flemming nearly scoring. Dani de Wit also had two chances for a double, but unfortunately wasn’t accurate enough in front of goal. In the 48th minute, Mees de Wit’s header Ché Nunnely’s cross made it 6-0 and the game was over.

Off the pitch, there was also some news, as Adham El Idrissi, until last season a highly praised striker in the youth, has left the club on mutual consent. The young forward began at Ajax in 2006 and worked his way up the ranks, eventually reaching the U19’s where he signed his first professional contract with the club. Due to a severe injury, El Idrissi never lived up to his potential and played just 6 games for Jong Ajax before opting to leave on a free agency to try his luck elsewhere.