Ajax need to shake travel bluesComment on this story
Ajax Cape Town coach Roger de Sa may have had Willie Nelson’s 1980s hit “On the Road Again” on his mind yesterday during the Urban Warriors’ four-hour bus trip from Johannesburg to Polokwane.
The Urban Warriors head to their least favourite venue in the country tonight when they take on Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
De Sa is trying to change the team’s psyche when it comes to playing away from the Mother City after Ajax’s shocking away form over the last few years.
The Urban Warriors have only won three matches on their travels since April 2012. Their form in Limpopo is worse, as they haven’t won a match in Polokwane.
De Sa has been thinking of tinkering with their travelling arrangements and devising some activities for those idle hours in the hotel. But he has realised that nothing he does is going to work unless the players change their attitude about playing away.
De Sa wants the players to enjoy the trips instead of dreading them, and he feels a strong culture of togetherness within the team environment could be the key to unlock more wins on the road.
Ajax managed to get a fighting draw in their first match of the season – away to AmaZulu – and beat Mamelodi Sundowns last week at home, which the coach hopes could inspire some belief that they can actually get off the mark in Polokwane.
“I think it’s more about the mindset. I have to work on their minds a lot more,” De Sa said.
“We tried to do that against AmaZulu and focus on what’s going to happen in the four lines.
“Right now I think the guys are on a bit of a high, so it’s a good time to get something positive on the road. It’s tough out there, but they need to enjoy it.”
Last season’s captain Dominic Isaacs is set to make his comeback off the bench against Polokwane. De Sa is set to persist with teenage stars Rivaldo Coetzee and Abbubaker Mobara in the centre of defence while Nazeer Allie is still suspended.
Today: Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic (FNB Stadium, 7.30pm), Polokwane City v Ajax Cape Town (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 7.30pm). Tomorrow: Free State Stars v SuperSport United (Charles Mopeli Stadium, 6pm), Orlando Pirates v AmaZulu (Orlando Stadium, 7.30pm), Moroka Swallows v Mamelodi Sundowns (Dobsonville Stadium, 7.30pm), Bidvest Wits v Maritzburg United (Bidvest Stadium, 7.30pm), Black Aces v Platinum Stars (Mbombela Stadium, 7.30pm), Chippa United v University of Pretoria (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 7.30pm). - Cape Times