Ajax Cape Town emerged as 2-0 winners over Polokwane City in an Absa Premiership fixture played at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
It was a first win of the season for Ajax, but in truth, the performance laid bare the full extent of the Cape side’s frailties.
Make no mistake, there’s a lot of hard work ahead for Ajax head coach Stanley Menzo.
In short, his players need a good kick up the backside; they are still performing well below potential and, to be honest, the overall lack of intensity to their approach is criminal.
The opening 45 minutes provided clear and simple proof why Ajax are struggling. Despite having most of the possession, everything they did was just far too slow. The build-up work was soporific and plodding, and they lacked any energy or urgency in their desire to get forward.
Often the man in possession of the ball looked an absolute fool because there was little or no movement off the ball – and, as such, finding the final pass to open the Polokwane defence was extremely difficult.
In addition, because the Cape side were so casual and subdued in their approach work, the opposition was able to easily reorganise and get behind the ball.
It was an opening half with very few chances. For Ajax, there was only a half-chance for Prince Nxumalo, while Innocent Nemukondeni failed with a soft header.
The best opportunities, in fact, fell to Polokwane on the counter, and Ajax were very fortunate not to be punished for their spiritless performance.
Simphiwe Hlongwane drilled an effort over the bar, Rodney Ramagalela booted a shot wide and Walter Musona was guilty of squandering the easiest of chances when confronted with only Ajax goalkeeper Brandon Petersen, but scuffed his attempt wide.
Ajax were in desperate need of some inspiration, they needed something or someone to shake the team from its lethargy.
Menzo looked to his bench and decided to bring on Ejike Uzoenyi for his club debut. The Nigerian winger has previously had spells at Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits.
And it was the debutant who provided the cross which forced an error from Polokwane goalkeeper George Chigova, and Nxumalo was at hand to head in the goal and give the Capetonians the lead.
And, in the 90th minute, after good work again from Uzoenyi, Nxumalo headed in his second on the night to make it 2-0.
All in all, victory for Ajax, but they won’t be too happy with the overall performance.