Struggling Ajax Cape Town host a resurgent Sundowns in the Cape Town stadium on Friday evening, with both teams targeting cup salvation
AJAX CAPE TOWN
Allie, Hlatswayo, Booth, Mokeke
Scott, Losper, Rusike, Dolly
Langerman, Mwanjali, Schut, Nyandoro
Domingues, Zwane, Mabaso
Laffor, Mphela, Mushekwi
Ajax Cape Town is a club in crisis and is firmly focused on survival in the PSL, as they flirt with danger at the foot of the table. However, the possibility of a successful Nedbank Cup run could allow the Urban Warriors to find some kind of solace this season.
Ajax has struggled to cope defensively all campaign, losing games they should have won on many occasions. New signings Mabhuti Khenyeza and Abia Nale have yet to make a definitive impact, while the enigmatic Wanderson has shown periods of his potential, but these have been few and far between.
The Urban Warriors' inexperienced squad and lack of consistency in the coaching department has certainly affected the team negatively, but Jan Versleijen believes his side has shown the fighting qualities they will require if they plan to to turn their season around.
"We still kept fighting, even when were 3-0 down against Platinum Stars at the weekend. But that's not the right way to do it,” he told reporters.
"We have the quality to play when we lead but we try to be too safe. We mustn't play panic football."
Versleijen will hope to salvage his sides’ season on Friday night, but their round of 32 opponents could not be a tougher encounter, as Ajax is set to host a club in a state of revival in the form of Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mosimane has inspired his club to rise from the ashes and move into the top eight of the PSL standings, whilst reminding many of his “star” players that performances on the pitch mean everything.
Sundowns has already reached a cup final this season, losing to Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout showpiece late last year and will be focused on producing another positive cup display, as their hopes of trophy success this season rests solely on the Nedbank Cup.
Pitso Mosimane is confident that Sundowns have what it takes to win the Nebank Cup and wants his team to focus on winning their opening match of the tournament.
"If you ask anybody whether they think they have a chance to win the Nedbank Cup, I think they all feel there is a chance to win the trophy," Mosimane said.
"We are going for it. You never know what is going to happen, it's a cup game and we all know cup games are totally different.
"We are playing against a Premiership team, so we need to concentrate a little bit, come down to earth and do things right.
"So we need to attack. We have the players to play, so let's play."
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Sundowns reached the final of the Nedbank Cup in 2012, only to lose against SuperSport United 2-0 at the Orlando Stadium, after being reduced to 10-men.
- Ajax Cape Town was edged out of the 2012 edition of the Nedbank Cup by AmaZulu, who won 4-3 on penalties at the Princess Magogo Stadium.
- The Urban Warriors won the Nedbank Cup in 2007, defeating their round of 32 opponents Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in the final.
- Sundowns won the cup the following season, defeating Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 in the final.
- The two sides have played each other 19 times with Sundowns holding a slight advantage over the Urban Warriors, winning five games as compared to Ajax's four victories.
- Ajax Cape Town has conceded 32 goals this season in the PSL, which means they have the worst defence in the top-flight, on par with Black Leopards.