Ajax Cape Town could certainly have done with the presence of new signing Tendai Ndoro in attack after a frustrating 0-0 draw with Free State Stars at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
Despite a number of promising scoring situations, together with the addition of excellent debut man Yannick Zakri, the Cape side needed a player with composure in and around the penalty area to make the most of their opportunities. But Ndoro, who would have been the perfect man for the occasion, was left out of the squad on Friday because of the controversy surrounding his move to Ajax.
As it is, the Ndoro issue is expected to be sorted out at a PSL hearing on Monday. According to Fifa statutes, a player cannot register for three clubs in the same season – Ndoro has played for Orlando Pirates, Saudi Arabia club Al Faisaly and now Ajax. The Cape club refused to comment on the situation at the post-match press conference on Friday, except to say that they will have clarity about it after tomorrow’s hearing.
As for the Ajax performance, coach Muhsin Ertugral was nevertheless positive about what he saw, and was satisfied with the improvement his team showed.
“I have to compliment the boys, I think we played well,” said Ertugral. “Yes, they were feeling down and disappointed in the dressing-room, but we will get there. I thought our decision-making in the final third was the major problem. The diagonal runs were not coming, and it’s the small elements we are still lacking.
“But the build-up play was good – Zakri, as you saw, is a very good player, Grant Margeman was back for his first game after injury, and young boy Yagan Sasman was brilliant down the left flank; he was up and down, and I was impressed with his performance. All in all, there are a lot of positive signs to work on.”
While Zakri was hugely impressive in his first match for Ajax, after arriving on a six-month loan from Mamelodi Sundowns, Ertugral admitted that the team’s inability to score against Stars on Friday had to do with composure.
“We need someone with finesse and cleverness around the box,” said the Ajax coach. Needless to say, the man they required was Ndoro.