Rivaldo Coetzee apologises, returns to Ajax training

Rivaldo Coetzee of Ajax Cape Town with the Player of the Year Award and the Players Player of the Year Award during the Ajax Cape Town 2016/17 Awards at Lagoon Beach Hotel, Cape Town. BackpagePix

Wantaway Ajax Cape Town defender Rivaldo Coetzee has returned to pre-season training, albeit with the club's reserve side, after going on strike in order to try and win a move away from the club.

African champions Mamelodi Sundowns have expressed interest in signing the 20-year-old Bafana Bafana international, but have balked at the US$1-million asking price of the Cape Town club.

Coetzee refused to start pre-season with the club earlier this month and rather trained on his own, but has now returned, offering apologies in a video message distributed by the club.

"Firstly I would like to apologise to the club, to the coaches and all my teammates for the way I behaved for the past three weeks," he said.

"Ajax Cape Town has played a big role in my career and development so far. Me and the club are working together to develop even further. I am happy to say I spoke to coach [Stanley] Menzo and I apologised to him.

"We will decide what the future holds for me at the club. I am happy to say I have returned to training with the MDC team." Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou says the club are pleased with the about-turn by the player.

"Rivaldo offered a heartfelt apology to the club, staff, coaches, and to our fans, one which we have accepted," Efstathiou said.

"We are happy that he has taken responsibility for his actions in a mature manner and accepted any decision made by the DC [Disciplinary Committee] regarding his absence from training since the start of pre-season."

Coetzee has expressed his desire to play in Europe next seasons, but it appears as though there have been no concrete offers for his services, leaving Sundowns as a viable option.

He made his PSL debut for Ajax as a 17-year-old in February 2014 and within eight months made his international bow as well, briefly holding the title as South Africa's youngest ever international before a month later that mantle was taken by Fagrie Lakay.

He has largely been a regular since for the national side in competitive internationals, winning 24 caps to date.