Lassina Traore: The incredible rise of the Ajax Cape Town academy star

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It was a night to remember for former Multichoice Diski Challenge star Lassina Traore after he made his debut in Europe’s elite club competition, the UEFA Champions League, for Ajax Amsterdam.

The former Ajax Cape Town reserve striker came on during the final seven minutes of Ajax Amsterdam’s 1-0 loss against Liverpool in their 2020/21 Champions League group stage opening clash.

Born in Burkina Faso, Lassina Traore joined the famed Ajax Cape Town youth academy in 2017, a year after he had already made his international debut for Burkina Faso. Traore ended up as the MDC’s joint-top goalscorer before making the jump from Ajax Cape Town to Ajax Amsterdam at the end of 2018.

Since joining Ajax Amsterdam, Lassina Traore has found the back of the net on four occasions while assisting a further five goals in just 19 first team appearances and has been dubbed as one of the finest African prospects at the moment.

Lassina Traore: The Ajax Amsterdam/Cape Town relationship a fruitful one?

Ajax Amsterdam recently ended their 21-year relationship with Ajax Cape Town after selling their controlling stake at the club however how successful was their relationship?

Traore is the latest Ajax Cape Town graduate to feature for the Ajax Amsterdam first team. Prior to Traore, just Benni McCarthy (the first to join from Cape Town’s ‘Seven Stars’) in 1997, Steven Pienaar in 2001 and Thulani Serero in 2011.

Ajax Cape Town academy stars Dean Solomons (21-year-old defender), Leo Thethani (21-year-old winger), Gabriel Mofokeng (retired right-back), Daylon Claasen (30-year-old winger) and Stanton Lewis (retired midfielder) all went on to represent the Ajax Amsterdam youth academy however they failed to break into the first team.

Ajax Cape Town’s last hope

Daniel Jordan, 14-year-old midfielder, is the final Ajax Cape Town hope to leave his mark in Amsterdam. The youngster made the switch from Cape Town to Amsterdam in 2019 and has been establishing himself as one for the future in Europe.

Other South Africans that went on to play for Ajax Amsterdam’s first-team include goalkeeper Hans Vonk who made a total of 36 appearances for the club after joining them from Dutch outfit SC Heerenveen while former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena made eight appearances for the club after joining them from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

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