Cape Town - It’s going to be an historic night at Cape Town Stadium on Friday for the first ever derby between Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City, but will City’s strikers bring their scoring boots along?
The new top-flight club, established by John Comitis, last found the back of the net on August 26 when City pulled off a massive upset by beating Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in the MTN8 quarter-final.
Australian Matt Sim got the breakthrough in the seventh minute at the Cape Town Stadium to knock the Amakhosi out of the competition, and it came just three days after City began life in the Premiership with a 2-0 victory over Polokwane City at the same venue.
Bhongolethu Jayiya and Aubrey Ngoma got the goals that night, but since then, it’s been a lean patch for Eric Tinkler’s outfit. They were outplayed by Wits in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final at Milpark in Johannesburg in a 3-0 defeat on September 10, which was followed by a 2-0 loss to Golden Arrows in a league encounter in KZN.
City were up against it in the return second leg against Wits at home, but despite having a few late scoring chances, they didn’t really push forward in a strange match that ended in a goalless draw.
The reintroduction of Jayiya and Ngoma on the flanks seemed to revitalise City in their last clash against Orlando Pirates on Tuesday, though. City took the game to the Buccaneers and dominated throughout the 90 minutes at Orlando Stadium, but were unable to convert a number of opportunities on goal.
Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo was in unbelievable form between the sticks, but City striker Judas Moseamedi had two excellent chances that were wasted, which saw Pirates hold on for the point.
Tinkler, though, will hope that his team can continue to create openings against Ajax through captain Lebogang Manyama and Mpho Matsi up the middle, with the speed of Ngoma and Jayiya out wide.
Ajax haven’t got the results they would’ve wanted either in recent weeks. They opened their league campaign with a 1-1 away draw against newcomers Baroka FC, and then went down 2-1 to Pirates in Soweto. They continued their winless start to the season with a 1-1 draw against Polokwane City at home on Tuesday, with beanpole striker Nathan Paulse grabbing his third goal of the season to be the only Ajax player on the league’s scorers’ list.
So, Roger de Sa will need Ajax’s defence to back-up Paulse’s exploits with a clean sheet if they hope to clinch their maiden victory this season. But they will have to do it without defensive midfielder Roscoe Pietersen, who was sent off for a second bookable offence for a foul on Phuleng Tlolane, which resulted in a penalty that was converted by Thobani Mncwango.
The Urban Warriors boast Bafana central defender Rivaldo Coetzee in their back-four, but he will require assistance help from the rest of the backline to keep out Moseamedi and Jayiya.
There are other sub-plots involved in this match, with the two coaches Tinkler and De Sa good friends from their time together at Orlando Pirates and in the national team, while Comitis left Ajax in a huff after prolonged boardroom battles with his in-laws, the Efstathiou family.
It may be all about the three points in the end, but it’s also about bragging rights in the Mother City when the game kicks off at 8pm. Will the new kids on the block City spring a surprise, or will “big brothers” Ajax teach them a lesson?