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Football | Absa Premiership

Ajax out to end unbeaten Chippa run



Ajax Cape Town will be desperate to get back to winning ways in the Absa Premiership when they welcome an in-form Chippa United outfit to Bidvest Stadium on Saturday evening.

Kick-off is at 8:15pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Urban Warriors have gone four league matches without a win, with the Cape club held to a goalless draw by bottom-of-the-table Bidvest Wits at the same venue in midweek.

Stanley Menzo’s troops have scored just four goals in their last seven matches and will need to hit the back of the net more frequently if they are to rise out of the relegation zone.

For all their struggles away from home, Ajax have performed adequately on home soil and will be hoping to build on that record - even if this weekend’s ‘home’ fixture will take place outside the Mother City due to the unavailability of suitable facilities within Cape Town.

From five matches as hosts, the Urban Warriors have registered two wins, two draws and suffered just one defeat. Their last win in the league was against Bloemfontein Celtic in Cape Town back in October.

Chippa stretched their unbeaten run in the league to an impressive 10 matches when they defeated Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 earlier this week.

Victory moved the Eastern Cape side up to second place on the log standings. Former Ajax Cape Town duo Mark Mayambela and Abel Mabaso teamed up for the decisive goal against the Glamour Boys as they now set their sights on their former employers.

The Chilli Boys, though, have won just once away from home this season (2-0 at Bidvest Wits in November), but they’ve also only lost once on the road (1-0 at Orlando Pirates back in August).

Last season Ajax claimed a league ‘double’ over Chippa, winning 1-0 both in Cape Town and in the Eastern Cape province. This was the first time that one of these sides won both of their league meetings in a single season.

Predicted starting XI

Ajax Cape Town: February, Lebusa, Booysen, Nhlapo, Kammies, Pietersen, Mdabuka, Margeman, Mosadi, Mzwakali, Morris.

Chippa United: Akpeyi, Macheke, Mako, Konqobe, Okwuosa, Maphanga, Mabaso, Mdlindzo, Lentjies, Mayambela, Sekola.

WHAT THE TEAMS ARE SAYING

AJAX CAPE TOWN HEAD COACH STANLEY MENZO:

"If you want achieve something you have to be together as a team," said Menzo.

"We went to the home of the champions and got a valuable point on a field that was not easy to play on. We kept our shape and remained organised and we have to do the same against Chippa this weekend.

"They [Chippa] are a very technically gifted team that like to play football. They made good signings in Kurt Lentjies, Mark Mayambela and Abel Mabaso who is doing very well. They are a team that is in a good mood at this moment and a team that is very dangerous on the transition.

"It will not be an easy game, but there are no easy games in the PSL."

CHIPPA UNITED HEAD COACH TEBOHO MOLOI:

“Being second now is a challenge because you are near the top and everybody will be shooting at you‚” Moloi said. “Will we be able to block all those bullets coming at us?

"Can we hold onto the position? Will we still be up there at the end of the season?

"It’s going to be a psychological and mental challenge for my players especially if it is the first time they find themselves there (in second place on the log standings).

“I didn’t actually want to get up there so early in the season because sometimes complacency and a loss of concentration can creep in.”

KEY PLAYERS

AJAX CAPE TOWN

Thabo Mosadi: The Urban Warriors winger has played in every minute for the Urban Warriors this season with his skill and pace down the flank a constant threat. Despite all his notable qualities, many will feel that he has yet to reach the heights of last season and Stanely Menzo and co will be hoping that he soon rekindles the sort of form that will help the Urban Warriors climb the log standings.

Mosa Lebusa: The Ajax Cape Town skipper has been a beacon of light for the Cape club throughout the campaign. Undoubtedly one of the best left-backs in the country, a lot of pressure falls on his shoulders as he aims to lead a struggling Urban Warriors side out of danger.

CHIPPA UNITED

Mark Mayambela: The wing-wizard showed why he is one of the most exciting players in South Africa’s top-flight with a bit of dazzling skill in setting up the Chilli Boys winner against Chiefs. Coming up against his former employers this weekend, Mayambela will hoping to script their demise as the Port Elizabeth-based club set their sights on the Absa Premiership summit.

James Okwuosa: The burly centre-back has played a vital role in keeping things tight at the back for Chippa United during their unbeaten run and the Nigeria international will be aiming to put in another solid shift as the Chilli Boys go in search of all three points in Johannesburg.



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