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Football | Absa Premiership

Thuso Phala © Backpagepix

Stars hope to shine against Ajax



High flying Platinum Stars will host an Ajax Cape Town side showing signs of improvement when they meet on Saturday afternoon for an Absa Premiership encounter at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, kick-off at 3:30pm.

Cavin Johnson’s men impressed in the first half of the campaign, seeing them end as the winners of the Q-2 table and they have only but built on from their success in 2012.

An impressive 2-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at home meant that they got their New Year underway with the best possible start; keeping them in third place and on the right track to reach their seasonal target of finishing inside the top five.

“We are very confident. The win against Celtic was very important and a big booster for us. From the start of the season we were aiming for a top five place in the standings,” says Thuso Phala.

“Not much has changed from last season, but our goal was to collect as many points at home and challenge them away from home. So far so good for us…”

Throughout the campaign, the Dikwena’s strongest game has come on their home soil, and they will be out to continue their fortunes this weekend by claiming revenge on Ajax, who defeated them 4-1 in the first leg.

“We have been especially strong at home and it is really good to have collected the points there. Now, we just have to continue and move forward from there,” adds the Stars winger.

“We lost the first leg to Ajax and it is never nice losing twice. They will come here and we will give them a run for their money.

“We will be playing at home and it will be hot for them, which will make it difficult. Hopefully we will get the three points.”

A different story presented itself to the Urban Warriors on Wednesday evening, when they once again failed to keep hold of their lead handed to them by Mosa Lebusa.

A 1-1 draw to Moroka Swallows is all that they could manage in their return to action, but the performance didn’t leave debuting coach Jan Versleijen completely out of sorts.

“We started the game [against Swallows] a bit nervous. It was our first game out after six weeks and with a new coach, new players in the team and a new backline, I thought we kicked off quite well,” said the Dutch tactician.

“We started off playing some decent football, some good combinations but in football you have to finish your chances.

“The result was the one-all and, in general, I am happy but if you play at home you would like to keep your three points.”

Versleijen opted to field youth over experience in the home fixture and he has indicated that he will be fielding a similar starting eleven come Saturday afternoon.

“In the last two weeks Granwald Scott and Nazeer Allie were injured, so they both just came back from injuries,” he cited. “I used the same backline and the midfield that I used in the friendly games, I was quite happy. I have no reason to change this.

“We will pick up the good points from the Swallows game and try to bring them into the Platinum Stars game. We also have to learn about the mistakes we did against Swallows and with that we will try get the points to stay in the PSL.

“I only count it game by game. I told the players we have 13 games left and every game is like a final. We have the next three months to collect the points and we look from game-to-game.”

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