Fagrie Lakay could be an integral part of the Ajax Cape Town team as they look to turn their season around. Photo: BackpagePix
CAPE TOWN  After a spell out in the cold, Fagrie Lakay is re-energised and he is slowly regaining the promise he showed when earning the accolade of becoming the youngest player to have worn the Bafana Bafana jersey.

And it has necessitated a return to the Mother City to revitalise the young striker, originally from Manenberg.

The 20-year-old is on loan from SuperSport United to Ajax Cape Town and he has very quickly made his presence felt with some crucial goals, while his energy and hard-running style have been invaluable to the Cape side.

Tonight (Saturday), Lakay is looking to continue the good form he has shown when Ajax are in Soweto to face Orlando Pirates in a Nedbank Cup last 32 clash at the Orlando Stadium.

It is particularly his pace which will be vital to coach Muhsin Ertugral’s plan to put one over his former club again. Ajax defeated the Buccaneers 3-0 in a league fixture at the Cape Town Stadium last week.

Lakay came to prominence as a sprightly, much-admired teenager at Santos in 2014. His exploits for the Cape club and the South African Under-20 squad brought him to national attention, and he was quickly taken up into the senior Bafana squad at the age of 17.

Other clubs were alerted to the prowess of the youngster and it was SuperSport who landed his signature in 2015.

Ever since, though, it had gone quiet. The player’s career hadn’t really progressed, hence his arrival at Ajax as an opportunity for more regular game time.

“As they say, home will always be home,” said Lakay.

“It’s good to be back among my old friends, and to be able to play football in front of my family and the home Cape crowd. Even here at Ajax, the guys have been very supportive, and the move has been good.

“I’ve come to Ajax because I want to contribute. I wouldn’t like to see this team go down to the First Division, so I will always do my best to ensure that the team is doing well and that we get the results we need.

“I’ve just told myself that I want to score goals for the team - and, if I can’t, then I want to make sure that I create opportunities for other players.”

In Pirates, though, Lakay is fully aware that Ajax are in for a difficult challenge. They know that the Sea Robbers are still hurting from last week’s loss to the Capetonians.

“This one won’t be easy,” said Lakay.

“Because we beat them in the league, they will have something to prove and they will come all out to beat us this time. But we have prepared well, the guys are excited and I think this is going to be a good game.”

Lakay was also very happy to be working with Ertugral. He believes that, as a young, emerging footballer still making his way in the game, he couldn’t have asked for a better coach.

“I’m still young, but I have to say coach Muhsin really understands the game well,” said Lakay.

“He is one of the best coaches I have worked with. He is always prepared, he knows what he is doing, and every training session is always related to what we will be doing in the game at the weekend.”

Ertugral, in fact, has already highlighted a weakness in Lakay’s game, and he has focused the player’s mind on improving that particular aspect.

“Fagrie (Lakay), I remember from when he was 17, when he was a real upcoming talent,” said the Ajax coach.

“He is still learning  he is good at going forward, but has to be better when he has his back to defenders.”

So, with Lakay’s pace and power always a threat to opposing defenders, Ertugral is now developing the striker’s all-round game.

In the end, the aim is to make sure that Lakay is just as effective when things are tight, or when he comes up against quick, intelligent defenders.

Nedbank Cup last 32 FIXTURES

Saturday: Swallows FC v Maritzburg United, Steenberg United v Orbit College FC, Phiva Young Stars v Chippa United (all 3.30pm); Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town, Super Eagles v Free State Stars (both 8.15pm)

Sunday: Kaizer Chiefs v Golden Arrows, Mariveni United v EC Bees, Bloemfontein Celtic v SuperSport United, Happy Wanderers v Royal Eagles (all 3.30pm)

Weekend Argus 

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