A real spicy PSL clash is in the offing when high-riding Mpumalanga Black Aces jet into the Mother City to take on Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm). The intrigue, though, is not based on the on-field playing action, but rather on a more personal, individual level.
Black Aces have been revitalised by former Ajax coach, the fiery Turk Muhsin Ertugral. On the back of the influence and drive of the wily 56-year-old coach, the Mpumalanga club currently sits in third position on the PSL standings, while Ajax, after a magnificent 3-1 away win over SuperSport United in Atteridgeville yesterday afternoon, have improved to eighth on the log.
The last time Aces and Ajax met was in December last year in Nelspruit, with Ertugral’s team emerging as 1-0 victors. In the post-match interview, the Turkey-born coach made the startling statement that he was “dedicating the victory to (former Ajax co- owner) John Comitis”.
At the root of the taunt is the fact that the Efstathious took Ertugral to court after he suddenly quit the club in January 2014. It was the Turk’s third spell in charge of Ajax – and, with the Efstathious wary of the coach’s penchant for resigning before the end of his contract, they pencilled in a clause that he would have to pay compensation if it happened again.
Unfortunately, during this time, Ertugral’s uncle passed away in Turkey and he had to return to handle family affairs. He quit Ajax – but, upon returning to South Africa and announcing that he was ready to work in the PSL again, the Efstathious took him to court for compensation. They won the case …