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We cannot rely on other teams to do us a favour, says Menzo

PSL
CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town are expecting a really difficult final few games of the season. The Cape side’s coach, Stanley Menzo, may be new to football in South Africa, but he has been impressed by the fight and bite of teams in the PSL.

Ajax are away to Maritzburg United in a league fixture at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night (8.15pm kickoff) - and the former Ajax Amsterdam and Netherlands goalkeeper admits that there are no easy points and easy games in the league.

He is expecting another tough, tricky encounter against the KZN side on Saturday.

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“I think this Ajax team is growing and has improved,” said Menzo (pictured). “But it’s important to realise that the other teams have also grown and improved. They are also fighting For example, you saw Baroka fighting against Kaizer Chiefs recently (it was a 2-2 draw) - everybody probably expected Chiefs to win. But, at this stage of the season, everybody is fighting, and there are no guaranteed results or points. You never know, this league is unpredictable. That is why we have to make sure of the points when we play, we cannot rely on other teams to do us a favour.

“Overall, though, I believe we have the quality to get us out of the situation we are in. The international break allowed us to give some players a rest and a few to recover from small injuries. We had a good training week, the spirit is good and I think we can get a good result against Maritzburg. It will be tough, but we are going for the three points.”

As it stands, Ajax are in 12th position on the standings with 22 points, while Maritzburg are 10th with 23 points.

For Ajax, the trip to KZN was supposed to have been a reunion with former coach Roger de Sa, but instead they will have to face Maritzburg with Fadlu Davids in charge as caretaker for his fourth spell. 

In the corresponding first fixture at the Cape Town Stadium in November last year, Capetonian Davids was in charge shortly after the KZN club had parted ways with German coach Ernst Middendorp. Maritzburg won 2-1 - and, no doubt, it’s a defeat the Urban Warriors would love to avenge.

“I don’t expect there to be too big of a change with Roger not in charge,” said the Ajax coach. “But they will obviously have a different way of playing. When Fadlu was in charge, they did quite well, so I expect that Maritzburg will keep the same approach that has worked for this coach in the past. We have prepared for a few different scenarios at training. We refreshed the players’ memories from the defeat against Maritzburg last year and we have also viewed games of how they played when Roger was the coach.

“All in all, though, we have to control things, we have to set the rhythm. If there are opportunities to take advantage, then we have to do so and, when we have to be careful, then we must take care.”

Squad news is that Menzo will have most of his squad fit, ready and available, including Rivaldo Coetzee who returned from international duty with Bafana Bafana in good shape. The only players who won’t be considered are Grant Margeman (suspended), Tashreeq Morris (injured) and Toriq Losper.

Losper is, in fact, back in training after injury, and Menzo admitted he was happy with the player’s work. The coach was just erring on the side of caution by allowing the player a bit more time to recover and regain full fitness.

PSL fixtures

Saturday: SuperSport v Baroka; Arrows v Highlands Park; FS Stars v Pirates; Wits v P Stars; Chiefs v Sundowns; Maritzburg Utd v Ajax (Harry Gwala Stadium , 8.15pm)

Sunday: Polokwane v Celtic

Cape Argus

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