Since the formation of Cape Town City as a PSL club, there have been three Cape derby outings against neighbours Ajax Cape Town.
City have won all three. It’s a statistic Ajax are intent on changing when the two teams meet in the league at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3.30pm kick-off).
Here are a few issues to ponder ahead of Saturday’s derby:
Mired towards the basement of the standings, the coach tasked with breathing new life into Ajax was recently-appointed Muhsin Ertugral (for his fourth stint at the helm of the Cape club). Ertugral set about the task urgently, and with gusto, coaxing former Orlando Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro back from Saudi Arabia, where he was playing for Al-Faisaly. Also brought in to freshen things up for Ajax were rising young star Fagrie Lakay, midfielder Samuel Julies and hard man Gerald Takwara.
Over at City, there are new faces too. Highly promising defender Kwanda Mngonyama was signed from Sundowns and is obviously seen as a replacement when Johannes departs, Surprise Ralani was lured back from Swedish club Helsingborgs, while Kenyan scoring sensation Masoud Juma is expected to take the PSL by storm once he has adapted to his new surroundings.
New Approach, New Attitude
With Ertugral now in charge at Ajax, there has already been a shift in approach. They have certainly looked far better in recent outings, there is a noticeable change in attitude and, no doubt, there will be even more improvement as the season progresses.
While City are still ticking along, and right up there with the title-challengers, coach Benni McCarthy will also be keen on a new approach and attitude from his players.
Same Derby, New Energy
So far, City have been in the ascendancy, but, with Ajax improving under Ertugral, Saturday’s game has the potential to be really special. Most notable is that the new faces and new attitudes, on both teams, will bring new energy.
Old Rivalry, New Twist
Much of this new Cape derby’s rivalry hinges on the club bosses. City boss John Comitis was one of the founding owners of Ajax, until he fell out with his partners, the Efstathiou brothers (the current owners of Ajax). But to add more spice to the fixture is the fact that Ertugral had previously sided with Comitis in the ongoing feud. Now, in an about-turn, Ertugral and the Efstathious have mended fences.