CAPE TOWN - The Mother City’s two PSL clubs have crucial fixtures to negotiate, but while their aim is the same, the ultimate ambition is vastly different.
For Cape Town City, who host Free State Stars at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night (8pm kickoff), the aim is, of course, a victory to bounce back from Monday’s disappointing defeat to Maritzburg United. The primary ambition, though, is to stay in the race for the PSL title. In short, City cannot afford to drop any more points.
For Ajax Cape Town, who are in Port Elizabeth to take on Chippa United on Saturday afternoon (3pm kickoff), the aim, naturally, is to maintain the momentum of last weekend’s 2-0 success over Platinum Stars. The primary ambition, however, is to push for a top-eight finish come the end of the season.
Importantly, both City and Ajax won’t lack for motivation as they approach their respective games over the next two days.
City coach Eric Tinkler has been vocal about how badly his team performed in defeat earlier in the week - and he was brutally honest in his assessment that his squad is “hurting”. There is only one way to conquer such pain, and that is to come out determined in the next game and perform in a manner befitting of a team trying to win the title.
“It was our first loss this year, we just didn’t show up,” said Tinkler. “There’s still a lot that can happen, though, and the key now is to bounce back and try and get the result against Free State Stars. But, importantly, the pressure is not on us, the pressure is on Mamelodi Sundowns and Wits.”
Over at Ajax, coach Stanley Menzo is just happy that his team is playing well again. The win over Platinum was the club’s second of the year – and they are looking to continue in that fashion against Chippa on Saturday.
“If you talk about pressure, the only pressure I felt as a coach was how I could get the team to perform as well as they did before the December break,” said Menzo. “I needed to find that key I think, with the help of the players and my support staff, we are slowly getting there. It’s looking good again.
“As for Chippa, it will be another important game. I said a long time ago that in games against the top clubs like Sundowns and Wits, if we get points, it’s a bonus. The objective has always been to make sure that we pick up points against the lower teams who are in the same position as us.
“Chippa are struggling now and they have changed their coach as well. So let’s see what they bring. They are usually a team that likes to play short passes with good combinations, so I don’t expect that it will be all that different. There will probably be small changes, but they remain a dangerous team to under-estimate. The important thing is that we have to control the game, and keep the ball for as long as possible.”
From a squad perspective, the big blow for Ajax is the suspension of the influential and consistent left-back Mosa Lebusa. Menzo, though, has complete faith in Lebusa’s likely replacement, 20-year-old Yagan Sasman.
“Sasman has already played twice this season, so I’m sure he can cope,” said Menzo.