CAPE TOWN – The Mother City’s two PSL clubs continue their quest to achieve their objectives, albeit at opposite ends of the league standings. Cape Town City are loftily perched, second on the log with 30 points, four behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, while Ajax Cape Town are precariously placed second-from-bottom, on 16 points.
On Friday night, Ajax host Free State Stars in a PSL fixture at the Cape Town Stadium (kick-off 8pm). On Sunday, City are on the road when they tackle Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm).
It’s the Cape against the Free State - and it should make for some tough, really competitive football, especially considering how tight things are in the PSL this season, at both ends of the league table.
Ajax are obviously still in mourning after yet another defeat in the Cape derby. Having gone down 1-0 to arch-rivals City at the weekend, head coach Muhsin Ertugral will have been hard at work at training this week. In his post-derby interview, the new coach spoke about the need to have more training sessions with his players, in order to bring across his ideas and inculcate in his squad the direction he requires.
Now, with a difficult task against fourth-placed Stars, victory is paramount. Considering their parlous situation, Ajax can ill-afford another loss. Skipper and left-back Mosa Lebusa is fully aware of the enormity of the job at hand, but he’s confident the Ajax squad has the ability to turn things around.
“We are still positive,” said the Ajax captain. “Nobody’s head has dropped - we know we still have 12 games to steer the club to safety and we are confident we can achieve it.
“As for Muhsin, I’ve played under him before and I know what he expects. You can already see that we are a lot more offensive now; we get numbers into the box and the focus is on attacking. At the same time, he’s also reminded the squad of the need to be solid and organised at the back because you can’t just go forward and forget about defensive duties. I have to say it’s good to have Muhsin back at the club.”
Meanwhile, over in the blue half of the Cape, City have added yet another attacker to the squad, in a bid to bring more attacking thrust and impetus to the team. There’s no doubt that, while City may be among the title-challengers, if they are to maintain their quest, then they are going to have to score more goals.
Ugandan international forward Alan Katerrega, the signing announced by City yesterday, has been brought in for this purpose, having impressed his coach Benni McCarthy. Kateregga, who has played for AFC Leopards in Kenya and for top Ugandan side KCCA FC, penned a three-year deal with the Cape club.
Club boss John Comitis said: “I sat with Benni and we discussed the need for a left-footed playmaker and winger who could add something unique going forward. There were a few options for us in the market, but, once Benni saw Kateregga play, he just simply said ‘this is the one’.
As for the possibility of signing of former Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar, Comitis said he had a brief chat with the player during the weekend’s Cape derby.
“Before I even set up any meeting with Pienaar, I have to sit down with Benni to see if it’s an option he will be interested in,” said the City boss. “At the moment, we are quite strong in midfield, so we will have to consider it carefully.”