Cape Town – Ajax Cape Town have an opportunity this week to do something about their precarious position on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) standings.
Currently rock-bottom with just two points from five games, the Capetonians are in desperate need of an injection of confidence and some positive results and performances.
On Wednesday, Ajax swing back into action, after yet another two weeks of training and friendlies, when they host Free State Stars at Cape Town Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
Then, on Saturday night, they are in Pretoria to take on the University of Pretoria (kick-off 8.15pm).
Needless to say, they can ill-afford to drop too many points. The danger in this league is that if a club falls too far behind early on, it’s extremely difficult to catch up.
To be fair, Ajax’s problems are not all of their own making. In addition to a number of injuries that have decimated the squad, the stop-start nature of the PSL fixture programme hasn’t helped either.
The many idle periods have meant that Ajax cannot get into gear and they have struggled to find any form of rhythm. This is a scenario that not only Ajax have complained about, but also other clubs and coaches.
A few on the casualty list are gradually returning to training, but the Cape side were dealt another blow when winger Franklin Cale had to undergo minor surgery to his knee. He will be out for a while, and he will join others in the treatment and recovery room – Travis Graham, Toriq Losper, Koen van de Laak, Brandon Petersen and Ndumiso Vezi.
To keep things going as best they can, Ajax have played friendlies against National First Division sides Milano United and Vasco da Gama during the recent two-week break. It’s not the ideal competition, but it helps.
“The coach (Muhsin Ertugral) has used the friendlies to test some combinations and tactics,” said Ajax spokesman Shooz Mekuto.
“Because of these periods of inactivity, it’s not easy to keep the squad physically and mentally motivated, but the coach has been able to have a look at some of the youngsters as he plans for this week’s fixtures.”