CAPE TOWN – The controversy around the eligibility of Ajax Cape Town striker Tendai Ndoro comes to a head today when his case is heard by the Johannesburg High Court.
It’s a dispute that has dogged Ajax since the arrival of the 32-year-old striker in January this year. Ndoro has played for three clubs this season - Orlando Pirates, Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia and Ajax - which is in contravention of Fifa rules.
However, while the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) cleared him to play, the League itself appealed the decision. Last week, in a hearing chaired by arbitrator Nassir Cassim, the matter was referred to Fifa, and Ndoro barred from playing for Ajax until a final decision is made by football’s world governing body.
As a result, Ndoro has taken the case to the High Court; and will explain how he was never paid a salary in Saudi Arabia, and that his right to work is now under threat and his dignity as a human being at stake; he is a professional footballer, how else is he supposed to make a living?
At the same time, the uncertainty of his situation is having an emotional and psychological effect on his well-being - this is the crux of his argument when the case is heard today.
So, with this as background, it’s a big day for Ajax, both on and off the field. The Cape side swings back into action tonight, after a hiatus of nearly a month, when they are in Durban to tackle AmaZulu at the King Zwelithini Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm). In addition to that, of course, Ndoro has a date at the High Court today in which he is appealing the ruling that prevents him from playing.
While all of this is happening off the field, the rest of the Ajax squad will have to ensure they focus on the task at hand - on the field, against AmaZulu today. The Cape club is in a precarious log position - second-from-bottom on the standings - and they certainly need something positive from tonight’s encounter.
Adding to their problems is the fact that their form on the road has been diabolical. In 12 away games this season, Ajax have picked up just three points - in a nutshell, it’s a statistic that sums up why they have struggled to get going this season.
Meanwhile, in the other half of the Mother City, Cape Town City are preparing to bounce back after a 2-1 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals when they host Golden Arrows at the Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 7.30pm) - and coach Benni McCarthy is focused on getting his team to finish as high as they can on the PSL standings.