Cape Town - As if their winless start to the new season wasn’t enough, Ajax Cape Town have suffered a major injury blow as top goal-scorer Nathan Paulse has sustained a broken cheekbone and will be out for a number of weeks.
The 34-year-old beanpole striker Paulse, who has netted thrice for the Urban Warriors in the Premiership in the current campaign, would’ve been a key figure in Saturday’s Telkom Knockout last-16 clash against SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville (8.15pm).
Roger de Sa’s Ajax outfit need all the help they can get after a disappointing first few months of the season, where they have lost three and drawn two in the Premiership.
They didn’t qualify for the MTN8 despite winning it last year, and would want to go deep in the Telkom KO, where the winners earn R4 million for being victorious in four matches, to offset the poor start to the league season.
But Ajax announced on their website on Tuesday that Paulse was injured in the 2-0 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban last Saturday, along with classy midfielder Lebogang “Cheeseboy” Mokoena.
“The biggest casualty is Nathan Paulse, who had a mild concussion as well as a fracture to his zygomatic bone, which is his cheekbone on his left side,” Ajax’s head of medical Jantho Greyling said. “He will probably need surgery for that, but we’ll have to confirm after the CT scan.
“The only other concern is Lebogang Mokoena, he picked up a mild hamstring strain. He will get reassessed to check the severity of the injury.”
Paulse’s absence may see last season’s star goal-poacher Prince Nxumalo recalled to the starting XI after he came on in the last few minutes against Chiefs following his recovery from meningitis, while Bantu Mzwakali replaced Mokoena early in the second half in Durban.
Meanwhile, Cape Town City also won’t have a top striker available for their Telkom KO encounter against Bloemfontein Celtic at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday (7.30pm), with illness ruling out Lehlohonolo Majoro. He is set to be replaced by Judas Moseamedi, while defender Robyn Johannes will make his first start for his new club.