CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town coach Stanley Menzo declared himself “not happy, but satisfied” after his team played to a 1-1 draw with Golden Arrows in the opening match of the new PSL season at Cape Town Stadium at the weekend.
But there’s no time to dwell on ifs and buts as the Cape side swings back into action on Wednesday again. Ajax are in KwaZulu-Natal to face Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium (7.30pm kickoff), and Menzo is looking at tweaking things tactically for the encounter.
“They (Maritzburg) are in the semi-finals of the MTN8 this weekend, so they will be in good spirit, in good flow,” said Menzo. “We know their way of playing and a possible strategy is to allow them to have the ball and try to catch them on the counter. Maritzburg are a very compact side, so I’m not expecting us to play too open.”
In reflecting on the draw with Arrows on Saturday, the Urban Warriors coach was frank about the pros and cons of his team’s performance.
“It’s always disappointing when you are at home and cannot win, especially when it’s the first game of the season” said Menzo. “In the first half, you could see that Arrows knew what we do and they had come prepared, they made things difficult. We couldn’t find the spaces between their lines, they had come to play on the counter and they did it very well.
“We were always reacting and not anticipating, which is why we were always late on the second ball. In the second half, I told the team to always play the first pass forward to the number 9, and I thought it worked well. We played better. We scored a good goal (Rivaldo Coetzee heading in from a corner), it was a move we had worked on at training.”
As for some of the individuals in the team, the former Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper had some positive and negative comments.
“The two players making their debuts (central defender Isaac Nhlapo and striker Sedwyn George) did well,” said Menzo. “I can assure you that I wouldn’t like to play against Isaac he is tough and hard and I thought he played well.
"Sedwyn now knows what the PSL is all about, it’s a lot quicker and harder than the NFD. He’s got talent, he has (a) good touch and feeling for goal. We will need a bit more time with him, it’s a learning process. Thabo Mosadi, though, wasn’t very good, and he needs to know that he cannot produce that level of performance for the team.”
But, with (former captain) Travis Graham not available and looking to negotiate his way out of Ajax, Menzo says he needs to find a central midfielder. Mitchells Plain midfielder Morne Nel was signed for this purpose, but he is struggling with injury and is not ready as yet.
“I need a number six, an organiser in midfield who can read the game,” said Menzo. “In the Ajax way of playing, this position is very important We have Morne (Nel), but he needs more time. So we will see what we can do before the transfer window closes.”