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Football | Absa Premiership

Mabhuti Khenyeza © Backpagepix

Birds aim to take off in Cape Town



Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows will be looking to start their New Year afresh, by ridding themselves of their Absa Premiership troubles from 2012 when they meet at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday evening, kick-off at 7:30pm.

After a highly impressive start to the 2012/13 for Zeca Marques and his men, the Birds looked as if their wings has been clipped, as their poor run of form saw them head towards ground and slump down the table.

Their first win in nine games came on the final fixture of 2012, claiming a 2-0 win over Platinum Stars, and Swallows’ skipper Lefa Tsutsulupa says they have learnt their lesson the hard way.

“You can never take things for granted. This thing of seeing a mistake and saying we will rectify it and then we keep on postponing it - in the end it kind of catches up with you,” says Tsutsulupa.

“We're getting there mentally, but I think physically it's hard to tell. The approach to league matches is different from friendly matches, so it's still difficult to say [how fit we are].

“Against Ajax? I can only talk about us and this is a must win game for us, because we want to get away from the threat of relegation as much as possible."

For the Urban Warriors the two month lay-off for the African Cup of Nations brought a great change to the set-up, seeing Jan Pruijn replaced by fellow Dutchman Jan Versleijen as head coach.

In addition, Mabhuti Khenyeza and Lance Davids both made a return to the squad, while Abia Nale completed the trio’s arrival with his move from Kaizer Chiefs.

And, like their adversaries, they too, had their own issues during 2012, seeing them claim two wins in their last six fixtures.

Sean Roberts says they are itching to make a return to the field: “We are very excited. After being off for two months and a bit now there is a lot of excitement with the new players, the new feel of the team.

“I am lot more positive than I was a couple of months ago which is fantastic. It can only be a good thing going forward.”

The Dube Birds were the first team to hand Ajax Cape Town their first defeat of the season and it was a fixture in which Roberts made his debut in the campaign.

The 28-year-old, who has taken over from Sander Westerveld as the club’s first choice, is expected to be in goals once again and he is ready to return to playing.

“I have been in this position before,” he adds. “I just have to go out and enjoy every moment; you never know what is going to happen. Enjoy it, trust in myself and my ability, have a good game and get the three points.

“First thing will be keeping a clean sheet. We had so many chances in that game- we should have won 6-3 or 6-1, but we were very unlucky and they scored good goals. It was unbelievable.

“We just have to stick to our game plan. We are looking forward to Wednesday.”

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