Thulani Serero update.
Serero is the last player who came to Amsterdam from Cape Town. Before him, Eyong Enoh, Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claassen and Aaron Mokoena made the same move.
The true test came last April, when together with Clayton Daniels, he had to convince Ajax’s technical staff of his skills. He succeeded and the South African midfielder joined the team in June for the trip to De Lutte. “The level is higher, the club is bigger. In fact, everything is different. Fortunately, Ajax wasn’t completely new to me, since I’d done a few internships in Amsterdam”, said Serero after signing his contract with Ajax.
After a good pre-season, he was given competition playing time right away. He made his official debut in the away match against De Graafschap when he came on midway through the second half, substituting the Ajax centre-forward Kolbeinn Sitgthórsson. During the first month of the season Thulanicame on as a substitute four times.
On September 2, 2011 he then played the full ninety minutes with Ajax 1 during the cup match against VV Noordwijk (1-3).
Six days after his national cup debut, he took another step forward in his football career when he stepped onto the highest stage of club football at the Bernabéu in Madrid. Seven minutes before full-time, 21 year old Thulani made his UEFA Champions League debut. Serero will always be able to claim ‘I’ve played in Bernabéu’, said NOS commentator Frank Snoeks in the 83rd minute of Real Madrid v Ajax game.
In South Africa, several of his former team-mates watched in awe, several of them hoping to live Serero’s dream by playing in the Champions League.
“This was a great experience”, said the South African afterwards. “We played well.”
He was less satisfied with his own performance. “It’s alright”, he said at the end of September. “But not as well as I’d like. It would have been good if I had scored against Madrid, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.”
It clearly was meant to be, the skilful, nimble midfielder played an excellent match with Jong Ajax against Jong PSV. He crowned his strong performance with a goal and his contribution towards the the team’s performance was invaluable in their 4-1 win.
Thulani played with Ajax 1 once again, when he came on as a substitute and made good contributions to the 4-1 win against ADO Den Haag.
This year, Ajax Amsterdam began their pre-season with a training camp in De Lutte followed by friendlies at home and abroad (New York and England).
On July 20, 2012, Ajax played Brøndby winning by a 2-0 scoreline. The second Ajax goal came courtesy of Thulani Serero. After great combination work, Serero made his way past three men in the small penalty area, after which, he took possession of the ball once a again and shot into the goal.
Three days later Ajax Amsterdam played Glasgow Celtic in a friendly game and Thulani Serero once again got his name on the scoresheet when he latched onto Siem de Jong’s free kick. Thulani Serero’s goal put Ajax 3-0 ahead. The Ajax Amsterdam website said, “The South African simply domintated his opponent Thomas Rogne, and shot the ball past keeper Fraser Forster.”
In Amsterdam, Serero is full of promise. In Cape Town, he’s a shining example. This will only strengthen the connection between Ajax Amsterdam and Ajax Cape Town even more.
text and pics: ajax.nl