Having only accumulated three points from all their away games this season, it’s a statistic that weighs heavily on the Cape side. But, if ever they needed to turn things, it’s today – victory is paramount in Ajax’s bid for PSL safety.
Everybody at the Cape club is aware of how important the clash is. With four games to go (including the Chippa match), there is no margin for error. Points need to be picked up at every opportunity. On the plus side, though, Ajax come off a morale-boosting victory over Wits in midweek – and they are confident of maintaining the momentum.
The Cape side’s defence has been solid and the shape and organisation particularly impressive; importantly, in recent weeks, they have been just as potent in attack, where Ivorian Yannick Zakri and Manenberg’s Fagrie Lakay have struck up a really good striker partnership. With Zakri oozing skill and confidence, and Lakay’s pace and power, Ajax are always dangerous on the counter.
Lakay, now 20, sprang to prominence when he became the youngest to have played for Bafana Bafana when he made his debut in December 2014. Having started his career at Santos, he was signed by SuperSport United, but returned to the Mother City earlier this season to get more game time. And he has certainly had a superb impact during his loan spell at Ajax. Lakay will have to return to SuperSport, though Ajax coach Muhsin Ertugral admits he would love to continue working with the striker.
“Lakay is now a hot property in South Africa,” said Ertugral. “I have a special bond with him. He is a really good talent. I cannot say he will stay at Ajax because that is out of our hands. I can tell you if he stays one more season with me at Ajax, he won’t be in South Africa, he will be overseas soon.”
Lakay provided another telling contribution in Ajax’s win over Wits, and he is now looking to do more of the same against Chippa.
“It wasn’t easy against Wits,” said Lakay. “Because of the position we are in, we know have to treat every game as a Cup final because we need the points. Coming back to Cape Town was good, but it wasn’t nice to see Ajax in the position they are in. So, as a team, and for me as an individual, we will do everything in our power to keep the club up.
“The mood in the camp is high – that victory was great motivation for the guys, now we want to continue against Chippa. Everyone knows the importance of this game.”
As for his partnership with Zakri, Lakay explained the reason for their impact: “We are learning from each other, and we are working together. We want to do well for the team.”