JOHANNESBURG – Ajax Cape Town began life in the National First Division (NFD) with a bang following a 2-1 away win to Jomo Cosmos at Vosloorus Stadium.
The Cape Town side will be camping in the second tier division this season following the Tendai Ndoo registration saga that hit them at the end of last campaign.
The Urban Warriors know that the NFD is a jungle – hence they went all out during the transfer window as they brought in some seasoned campaigners including Raymond Monama, Sibusiso Khumalo and Shu-aib Walters.
However, it was young Thendo Mukumela who made the starting line-up here for the Urban Warriors. Mukumela is set to replace former skipper Mosa Lebusa in the centre-back role.
The 20-year-old did well to keep a balance in Ajax’s defence especially from a pressing Cosmos team that was led by Xolani Mahlangu upfront. Not only was Mukumela looking to impress coach Muhsin Ertugal, but also proving to Lebusa - who was out here watching from the stands following his move to Mamelodi Sundowns - that he can fill in the void that he left.
Lebusa, together with Bantu Mzwakali clearly still have a soft spot for the Cape-based side as they gave the Urban Warriors’ team motivation during the warm-up.
However, the visitors created little chances in the first stanza, but they did enough to break the dead-lock. Samuel Julies pounced home the rebound following an initial attempt from Tashreeq Morris.
That was arguably their best chance in the game, hence their defence had to be on point as Cosmos were persistent in search of an equaliser.
Cosmos had the upper hand as they had a couple of chances but their finishing left a lot to be desired. They did well for a team that was starting from scratch following the release of key players during the pre-season. In today’s starting berth, they had only three players who were with the team last season – Dawny Makgatho, Kizito Obi and Tebogo Mabula.
Considering that this was their first start of the season, they are looking to be a force to be reckoned with this season, especially if they are to work their way to top-flight football via automatic promotion after failing through the play-offs route last campaign.
Although Ezenkosi failed to clinch this match, Jomo Sono will be happy with his team’s performance, especially after the non-payment saga of players that hit the club in the past few weeks.
Their attack looked sharp. If they could only finish off the number of chances that they created – although this could take some time as they are still to gel together as a team.
It was through a Makgatho spot-kick that they managed to level matters. But in championship time, it was Ajax who prevailed courtesy of well-taken goal by Prince Nxumalo as that sealed all three points. This will stand them in good stead if they are to bounce back to the Absa Premiership after this season.
Results from the Vosloorus Stadium:
Jomo Cosmos (0) 1
Makgatho (P) 83
Ajax Cape Town (1) 2
Julies 32, Nxumalo 84@Mihlalibaleka