at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Cape Town – As if Ajax Cape Town don’t have enough to deal with these days, a training ground bust up marred their preparations for Tuesday’s crunch match against Kaizer Chiefs at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Winger Khama Billiat and veteran defender Matthew Booth had a bit of an altercation after a hectic training session last week. Booth apparently slapped Billiat after the Zimbabwean winger confronted him following a few tasty tackles at training.
Billiat vented his displeasure on social networks, before apologising to his teammates on Twitter, saying the “players love each other and are still strong and united”.
Booth’s defensive partner Thulani Hlatshwayo, though, ripped into Billiat afterwards tweeting: “@IamKhamaBilliat never again take things from inside the family and go talk outside boy we not too happy boy you..”
It all seems to be sorted out, and everybody has kissed and made up, but this is another untimely distraction for Ajax ahead of their encounter against the league leaders, especially as there is still a lot of uncertainty around the boardroom battles at the club.
To compound matters, Ajax don’t have a great away record against Chiefs, while their performances in the Limpopo capital also leave a lot to be desired. Amakhosi have won seven and lost just two of their 13 home league matches against Ajax. They have also beaten the Cape side at home for the past four successive seasons.
Chiefs also famously derailed Ajax’s title charge at the same venue two seasons ago, when a 4-0 drubbing in the Urban Warriors’ penultimate game of the season saw them lose out on the championship on goal difference – a four-goal margin – to Orlando Pirates two weeks later.
Ajax have also had their fair share of troubles on the field, with a terrible start in the league costing Maarten Stekelenburg his job.
Ajax put in a solid display in their 3-2 win over Chippa United two weekends ago, but will need to raise their game to a much higher level if they are beat Chiefs and break their Polokwane hoodoo.
Although Chiefs lost for the first match in the league against Platinum Stars two weekends ago, they have been the form side this season. They play with pace and precision, and boast an attacking arsenal that is firing from all sides of the field.
But, as we have witnessed over the last few years, the Soweto giants are at there most vulnerable the match before a derby with Pirates.
Saturday’s match at the sold out 94000-seater FNB Stadium will have even more significance, as the two giants of South African football head the league standings going into the mid-week fixtures.
(all matches 7.30pm kick-off)
Tonight: Kaizer Chiefs v Ajax Cape Town (Peter Mokaba Stadium), SuperSport United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Lucas Moripe Stadium), Golden Arrows v Bloemfontein Celtic (King Zwelithini Stadium), Maritzburg United v Platinum Stars (Harry Gwala Stadium).
Tomorrow: Chippa United v Orlando Pirates (Athlone Stadium), Wits v Tuks, Black Leopards v AmaZulu (Peter Mokaba Stadium), Free State Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns (Charles Mopeli Stadium).