Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral admitted yesterday that letting Mabhuti Khenyeza go was a big mistake and that the club will be looking for a striker in the January transfer window.
The Urban Warriors have only collected two points from their first five league starts. Injuries have been their biggest Achilles heel, but the loss of some top-class talent, including Khenyeza, have played a major part, with Ajax still looking for their first win of the season.
Khenyeza’s goals at the end of the last campaign helped to steer Ajax clear of relegation. However, the Urban Warriors decided not to give him a new contract after he was banned by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for 12 months for spitting at a referee.
That ban was then changed to a R25 000 fine on appeal by the South African Football Association (Safa), although the PSL have lodged another appeal against Safa’s ruling.
In the meantime, Khenyeza has played a key role for his new club Black Aces, netting twice and setting up quite a few for his teammates.
The current crop of Ajax strikers – Eleazar Rodgers, Nathan Paulse and Lebogang Manyama - haven’t quite set the world alight this season, and Ajax look a bit blunt upfront.
“I think Mabhuti is our biggest blow, because he is a different sort of striker to what we have. He is a menace to every PSL defence and one of the best strikers in the country,” Ertugral said.
“He runs deep and he runs into the spaces, that is the sort of player we need at Ajax. We have to reinforce the strike department in January, and we will have to act quickly because there are not a lot of good strikers available.”
Ertugral, though, did seem to enjoy yesterday’s lovely weather following the cold and stormy conditions that hit the Cape over the last few weeks.
But he also loved the fact that the storm on the injury front seems to be clearing.
The good news yesterday was the return of wingers Franklin Cale and Telhino, midfielder Lance Davids and defender Thulani Hlatshwayo for Saturday’s Telkom Knockout last-16 clash against SuperSport United in Pretoria.
Friday: Wits v Golden Arrows (Bidvest Stadium, 7pm).
Saturday: SuperSport United v Ajax Cape Town (Lucas Moripe Stadium, 3pm), Free State Stars v AmaZulu (Goble Park, 3pm), Moroka Swallows v University of Pretoria (Dobsonville Stadium, 8.15pm), Polokwane City v Kaizer Chiefs (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 8.15pm).
Sunday: Platinum Stars v Maritzburg United (Moruleng Stadium, 3pm), Bloemfontein Celtic v Mamelodi Sundowns (Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium, 3pm).
Tuesday, October 8: Black Aces v Orlando Pirates (Mbombela Stadium, 7.30pm). - Cape Times