CAPE TOWN - It’s a make or break week for Ajax Cape Town in their bid for PSL safety. With the season rapidly drawing to a close, the Cape club’s head coach, Muhsin Ertugral, believes three wins from the remaining five games should be enough to avoid the relegation axe.
This week, two of those games will be played. There is no room for error - this is the time to strike. On Wednesday, Ajax host Wits at Athlone Stadium (7.30pm kickoff) and then, on Sunday, they are in Port Elizabeth to face Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Adding even more pressure to the task is the fact that bottom-placed Platinum Stars defeated Polokwane City 2-0 at the weekend. So, as it stands at the basement of the league standings, Platinum are on 21 points, the Urban Warriors 24, SuperSport United 27 and Polokwane 30.
If the Capetonians are to make a statement of intent with regards to their desire to steer the club to safety, then this is the week to do so. They cannot leave it too late - the other three remaining games are rather tricky: Baroka (home), Sundowns (away) and Chiefs (home). Two wins this week will ease the pressure on Ertugral’s men and transfer the pressure onto the other relegation candidates.
The ongoing saga around the eligibility of striker Tendai Ndoro also remains an issue. Last week, Ajax lost a High Court application to interdict the matter, but they were nevertheless happy with the rest of the judgement; they believe there was enough in the verdict for them to take heart from in order to continue the fight.
Ndoro has played for three clubs this season, which is in contravention of Fifa rules. Initially, he was cleared to play by the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, but, after last week’s court case, it has now been referred to the world governing body to make a final decision. But, rest assured, the matter is far from over. It is highly likely that, if Ajax ultimately lose the case, they will take it all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Meanwhile, neighbours Cape Town City managed a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night, with new Kenyan striker Masoud Juma coming off the bench to net a late equaliser for his team.
"Amazing night for me, first PSL goal in just my 2nd game. City play for one another, that's why we're citizens." - Masud Juma 💙⚽️ pic.twitter.com/feUtSIa080
Juma arrived at City during the January transfer window with a huge goal-scoring reputation. He had been injured for a while, so head coach Benni McCarthy allowed the player time and space to adapt to his new surroundings.
All the time, though, the coach has always been confident the Kenyan will come good. On Saturday, City got a first real glimpse of the potential they have brought to the club. No doubt, Juma will show even more during the four remaining games, and be even better next season.
This week, City are in action on Saturday night when they host SuperSport United at Athlone Stadium (8.15pm kickoff) - and they will be looking for more from Juma in the opposition penalty area. And, no doubt, neighbours Ajax will be hoping for a favour as well: a City win could prove crucial in Ajax’s bid to avoid the drop.
Wednesday: SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates; Ajax Cape Town v Bidvest Wits (Athlone Stadium, 7.30pm)
Saturday: Mamelodi Sundowns v Bidvest Wits; Free State Stars v Bloemfontein Celtic; Kaizer Chiefs v Platinum Stars; Cape Town City v SuperSport United (Athlone Stadium, 8.15pm)
Sunday: AmaZulu v Orlando Pirates; Baroka FC v Maritzburg United; Chippa United v Ajax Cape Town (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 3pm)