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Football | Absa Premiership

Wounded Ajax meet Maritzburg

Ajax Cape Town and Maritzburg United will look to bounce back from their latest Absa Premiership defeats when they take to the field of Athlone Stadium for some Friday night action, kick-off at 8pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Urban Warriors turned out against Kaizer Chiefs in Polokwane on Tuesday evening and they failed to make any impact in the game as they fell to their seventh defeat of the season.

The 3-0 loss meant that Ajax slipped a position down in the league rankings- leaving the club disappointed.

“It is a very short time to recover [after the Chiefs game], to pick up the pieces and to heal all the wounds. Again, before the Chiefs game we were looking forward to prepare for the game, but unfortunately it did not work out,” explained Ajax coach Jan Pruijn.

“It is in the past- it is done. We have no suspensions. We are not so aggressive that we are picking up cards, which is positive on the one side, but on the other side- I think on the aggressive side we were 20-25% weaker than Chiefs.”

Ajax may be boosted with the possible return of Nhlanhla Shabalala and Koen van de Laak, whilst Nazeer Allie will have to pass a late fitness test.

Definitely unavailable is Mosa Lebusa at left-back whilst Sander Westerveld may face a possible axe from the setup following poor displays in the posts.

“I will show [the players] a little about the Maritzburg-Swallows game two weeks ago because there was no footage of the game where Maritzburg played against Platinum Stars,” added the Dutch tactician.

“Knowing Ernst Middendorp I think he will prepare them not to come into the same situation of losing two times in a row. He is still in a very decent position and he will look more going forward to be in the top two or the top three.

“We must be prepared that Maritzburg is coming here in a situation where they have to fight back from a loss.”

The Team of Choice suffered a minor setback to their impressive league run when they lost 1-0 at home to Platinum Stars.

The match turned out of favour for the KwaZulu-Natal outfit when Mohammed Awal was shown red for a rough challenge on Tintswalo Tshabalala.

Awal will not make the trip to the Cape, due to suspension, whilst it remains to be seen whether Orlando Smeekes will be fit or not.

“It was not our best game, it was a bit scrappy and we made some mistakes. We wanted to win but unfortunately things didn’t go our way,” Mario Booysen said about the Platinum Stars game.

“We were reduced to ten men but even then we still created opportunities where we could have sneaked a goal or two, but it just didn’t happen for us on the day.

“It’s important that we don’t drop our heads now but show character by bouncing back on Friday.

“We’ve got a good record away from home so that’s something that motivates us, but we still need to play well to get the results.”

Despite Ajax’s troubled form Booysen isn’t taking things for granted.

“It’s not going to be easy because Ajax have good players and they are in a bit of trouble, so they are also looking for points.

“But, we’ll stick to our plans, take care of the ball better than we did in our last game and try to convert our chances,” he concluded.


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