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Football | Absa Premiership

Cole Alexander © Backpagepix

Chippa look to spice up Cape derby



Chippa United will get their first taste of a Cape derby atmosphere when they step onto the field of Cape Town Stadium on Friday evening to meet their cross city rivals Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership encounter, kick-off at 8pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Chilli boys have added some spice to their campaign in recent weeks in which they have slowly started to silence the critics by going on a run of three unbeaten games.

Instrumental to their plight has been Farouk Abrahams, who took over as coach, and they will now be put to the test when they play their first ever derby in top flight football.

“We are very excited about the game against Ajax. We have trained well and we are doing well,” says former Ajax player Cole Alexander.

“We are unbeaten in three games which is good so far, so our confidence is building. It is just for us to carry it out onto the pitch.”

After being included in most of the starting line-ups since switching to the Philippi outfit, Alexander was forced to miss out in recent weeks due to a chest infection but is now ready to take to the field.

“Everyone is all amped as it’s the first derby and they want to get a good result. It is going to be nice getting to play my old teammates. Hopefully I get a chance to play,” added Alexander.

Chippa’s latest run has left them the surprising favourites to take the points as the Urban Warriors have turned into the slumbering civilians who have only won once under Jan Pruijn’s reign.

“I think it is going to be a difficult game. We have ex-Ajax players there and not only one or two but five or six of them. All of them want to prove a point because they were told they weren’t good enough here,” reveals Granwald Scott.

“I am sure there is going to be a lot of support there seeing as it is the first Cape Town derby and I would love to be on the pitch on Friday.”

‘Scotty’ is in doubt for the game, after picking up a knock against Bidvest Wits, along with Bradley Grobler, whilst Koen van de Laak and Nhlanhla Shabalala are both out injured.

“We have Shabalala who is out and the coach tried a new midfield combination against Wits. I think it went well with Shabalala and myself in the midfield. We made good combinations and we had a few scoring chances,” added Scott.

“I am not sure what the coach will do because I am a bit doubtful and Shaba is injured so it will be a tough game in the midfield. We have good enough players who can handle it.”

A positive in Pruijn’s side is that they have managed to keep more clean sheets this season than what Maarten Stekelenburg had managed and the former Ajax skipper is noticing a change.

“It takes time; things won’t happen overnight but we are trying to do our best. It is us, as players, on the pitch who have to look at ourselves and question ourselves, ‘are we giving 100%? Are we giving 120%?’ I think things are happening for us,” concluded Scott.

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