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Southern Africa Sports

Ajax Amsterdam End 21-Year Association With Ajax Cape Town



Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam have ended their ties with Glad Africa Championship side Ajax Cape Town with immediate effect.

In a statement released on Monday evening, the Urban Warriors said Cape Town Stars, who own 49 per cent of the shares, will take control of the franchise effective from October 1. This follows Ajax Cape Town’s failure to win promotion back to the DStv Premiership from the GladAfrica Championship for a second season running.

“Cape Town Stars, the South African minority shareholder of Ajax Cape Town has reached an agreement to take control of the franchise,” the statement read.

“Cape Town Stars, the 49% shareholder of Ajax Cape Town, is pleased to announce they have reached an agreement to acquire the 51% share of the GladAfrica Championship franchise from Ajax Amsterdam with effect from 1 October.”

“After 21 years of partnership with their Dutch counterparts, Cape Town Stars will be acquiring full control of the South African club.

“Cape Town Stars will shortly be in a position to advise on the way forward with regards to the future of the franchise.”

Meanwhile, in their own statement, Ajax Amsterdam stated that it will shift focus to other markets.

“AFC Ajax NV has reached an agreement for the sale of 51% of its shares in Ajax Cape Town to the minority shareholders. The transaction is set to be completed on or before October 1‚” the Ajax Amsterdam statement read.

“After the strategic reorientation‚ which was reported in February 2020 during the presentation of the half-year figures‚ Ajax concluded that the ambitions and results in Amsterdam are in too great a contrast to the development of the football market in South Africa.

“Ajax has expressed the ambition to reach the top of European football and in recent years the South African football market has not produced enough talent at the level that Ajax strives for.

“Moreover‚ Ajax does not see sufficient potential for the future.

“The club has shifted its focus to other markets. Ajax Amsterdam has been a 51% shareholder of Ajax Cape Town since 1999.”

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Southern Africa Sports

Durban To Host 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships



History was made yesterday when South African city Durban was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals after Member Associations voted for it during the 2020 ITTF AGM held on Monday 28 September 28.

It will be the first time in history that the ITTF’s most prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo played host to the competition way back in 1939.

Durban won 90 votes to ward off competition from the other candidate city and 2017 hosts Düsseldorf in Germany, who garnered 39 votes during the AGM.

ITTF President Thomas Weikert was unable to travel to Doha after being placed in quarantine after coming in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient last week. However, Deputy President Al Mohannadi was quick to offer his congratulations to Durban for their successful bid.

“Congratulations to both South Africa and Germany on presenting very strong bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals. We are continuing to see benefits from the forthcoming changes to the format of the World Championships Finals, which will be introduced from next year onwards, leading to more countries bidding from different regions of the world,” he said.

“This also reflects the ever-increasing international appeal of table tennis, which is extremely pleasing to see as we continue to work hard to make the sport more global in the future,” he added.

South Africa will also play host to the 2023 Netball World Cup, with Cape Town having won that bid last year.

The AGM also featured a special report on the impact of COVID-19 on global table tennis, as the sport prepares for a return to action via the #RESTART series that gets under way from November.

The #RESTART will feature three of the most prestigious ITTF events, namely the 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup, 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup and the 2020 ITTF Finals. All three events will be held in China with the Women’s World Cup from November 8-10 followed by the men’s event from November 13-15 and the ITTF Finals from November 19-22.

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Adama Traore Receives First Mali Call-Up



Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore has been called up to the Mali senior team for the first time, but the player is yet to make a decision on his future with a national team.

Malian football coach Mohamed Magassouba revealed his selection for the international friendly against Ghana and Iran.

Alongside Adama Traore, FC Porto’s Moussa Marega, Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo and Everton’s Abdoulaye Doucoure also getting his first international call-up made the 31-man list.

Traore was called up by Luis Enrique for Spain in August for the UEFA Nations League matches against Germany and Ukraine, but he was dropped after testing positive for the coronavirus.

In 2019, the winger who has represented Spain in the U16, U17, U19 and U21 levels was also called up to the Spanish senior national team for the Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Malta and Romania in November, but he pulled out due to an injury.

In March 2020, the Malian Football Association made an attempt to convince Traore to change his international allegiance.

Frederic Kanoute who also made a similar international decision during his playing days despite being born and raised in France says he was told by the Malian FA to speak with the Wolves star.

“If he is listening to me right now – I am heading your way, Adama,” Kanoute said.

“The Mali FA has called me to say, ‘Please, please go and see him because you speak perfect Spanish so you can convince him,’ and so on.

“I would like him to [play for Mali] but I will tell him the truth that it is obviously going to be a struggle and that it is not going to be so comfortable to play for an African national team.

“But the people give you back so much and he has the opportunity to make something big with a very, very talented generation that we have in Mali, so I will try to convince him.”

For Wolves, Traore scored six goals and made 12 assists in 54 appearances in the 2019-2020 season.

The Malian national team is set to face the Black Stars of Ghana in October and Iran four days later.

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