CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town’s smooth passing, possession-based style of football is pretty on the eye - but, for it to be really effective, it needs a reliable, consistent goalscorer.
A glance back down the years when Ajax have done well as a team, the one thing in common is that they’ve always had a good striker, like Thembinkosi “Terror” Fanteni, Thulani Serero and Mabhuti Khenyeza.
Now, as the Cape side prepares to kick off the new PSL season with a fixture against Golden Arrows at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (8.15pm kickoff), they believe they may have found a solution in new signing Sedwyn George.
To place Ajax’s recent struggles into context, while they still hog possession and territory, finishing the scoring opportunities remains a problem. As such, the 25-year-old George, who won the NFD Golden Boot award last season, scoring 20 goals for Durban-based Royal Eagles, has the responsibility of changing the team’s fortunes in attack.
“Ajax were interested in me halfway through last season already,” said George. “When the offer came a few months later, I accepted. I must say I am very happy here... I’ve always wanted to play for Ajax, I’ve always wanted an opportunity to live in Cape Town. This is a little bit like a country within a country.
“I’m settled, my teammates have welcomed me, and I’m learning more and more from the coach (Stanley Menzo) every day. I can feel that my game is improving all the time.”
It’s taken a while for George to realise his dream of playing in the PSL. He was at Maritzburg United as a development player, in their Under-17 and U19 teams. He then had spells at Third Division and Second Division clubs before deciding to pack it in for a while to study for a BSc degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
📸 | Behind the scenes 👀
Sedwyn George showcased some of his juggling skills during a photo shoot at Ikamva this morning. pic.twitter.com/mL8RbCXdbe
But the football bug bites deep. George was restless at university; the desire to be a professional footballer was just too intense and consuming, to ignore. So he put his studies on hold and went for a trial with Maritzburg’s PSL squad; he didn’t make it. But he never gave up - he took himself off to Eagles in the NFD for another trial, and this time he impressed enough and was signed.
“After a slow start at Eagles, everything just came together last season,” said George. “I didn’t start in the first five games, but managed a few appearances off the bench. I started the sixth game, scored a goal, and never looked back. My confidence grew and the goals kept coming.”
Now, with his first opportunity at PSL level, George knows he has great responsibility on his shoulders. He is aware of the Urban Warriors' recent struggles in attack and he knows he has been brought in as the solution to the problem. It’s pressure right from the start, but he believes he’s up for the challenge.
“I came to Ajax because I believe in my ability,” he said. “I think I can make a difference, I can make a contribution. I came here to score goals and win trophies I know it’s a big step up to the PSL, and there is a lot of pressure on me to perform, but I can take it. I’m ready.”
As for Arrows on Saturday, in which George is likely to make his debut, the striker is aware of the threat posed by the opposition.
“It won’t be easy,” he said. “I watched Arrows play Wits last week and they are a good side. We will have to work hard to get the better of them. We will have to be dedicated in our approach and we will have (to) work together as a team if we want to take the three points.”