Grant Margeman is back and his youthful, energetic presence is a major boost for the ailing Ajax Cape Town squad.
The Cape side are in Durban on Saturday to take on Golden Arrows in a PSL fixture at the Princess Magogo Stadium (kickoff 3pm) – and coach Stanley Menzo is expecting Margeman, the talented 18-year-old, to fire up a team sorely lacking in creativity and belief.
“Grant (Margeman) is back from suspension and that is good,” said Menzo. “He is a player who can make a big difference in the midfield. But we have a good squad, and it’s important that we make the right choices for the team.”
While Ajax defeated Highlands Park 1-0 in midweek, the performance left a lot to be desired. Menzo is demanding improvement this afternoon.
When the referee blew the final whistle at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night, there was a palpable sigh of relief as Ajax had finally found a way to win.
The victory over Highlands Park was hard-earned and, in the words of Menzo, “very lucky”, but at this stage of the season, there is no time for reflection on performance: Points are all that matter.
It has been a difficult year for the Cape side. Wednesday’s triumph snapped an eight-game winless run – and Ajax are now looking to continue the momentum against Arrows.
While it was a case of job done for Ajax, with regard to taking the three points against Highlands, Menzo is still searching for that “lost key to restart the Ajax engine”.
“The relief was enormous, for me and the players,” said Menzo, who also admitted that the anxiety and tension, especially in Wednesday’s tight fixture, “wasn’t good for my heart”.
“It takes away some of the pressure and should bring some confidence into the squad.
“It’s obvious that one win doesn’t make it all good, but it shows we can win, even if the performance wasn’t all that nice. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference – I think this win can make a difference.
“We knew that Highlands would sit back and wait for their moment. We knew that we would have to make the game.
“In the first half, we did that and scored a great goal. But after that we switched off, played backwards rather than forwards, and we got them back into the match.
“I thought we were very lucky to win. Highlands had some good chances There were moments when we weren’t very good in defence, but it was a clean sheet, so we’ll take it.”
While Ajax struggled and played in fits and starts for almost the entire 90 minutes, the one good moment they had ended in a well-taken goal.
It was a sublime move, involving some neat, quick-passing football, and it was left to Mark Mayambela to finish with a nimble, impudent chip over the goalkeeper.
“I know we have a team that can play football,” said Menzo. “We’ve shown it before, we are just not doing it consistently enough. We want to win against Arrows, and that is what we will be trying to achieve.
“But we cannot get carried away. We’ve seen in this league that if you win a few games you can be up there, and if you have a few bad results then you are struggling at the bottom again.
“So, the important thing is just to take it game by game.”
Saturday: Golden Arrows v Ajax Cape Town (Princess Magogo Stadium, 3pm); Kaizer Chiefs v Chippa United; Highlands Park v Orlando Pirates
Sunday: Free State Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns