Ajax Cape Town are seeking to replicate their home form on the road this weekend. They travel to Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free State Stadium.
A one-sided 4-1 thumping of Platinum Stars in their last match in Cape Town was evidence of their potential, according to coach Maarten Stekelenburg, but they will have to adopt to changing conditions if they want to be title contenders this season.
“I’ve made it clear to the players that we won’t be playing on the fancy green top that we have at the Cape Town Stadium and that it is going to be a lot different. But we have to learn to adapt and to play well in all conditions,” he said.
Ajax lost 4-2 on their last trip to Bloemfontein but the coach insists the result could have been closer.
“We played a good game but we were a little unlucky.”
Ajax’s form away from home over the last 12 months has been disappointing and the Celtic trip is made even harder by the fact the home team have lost just twice at home in the last 18 months.
Celtic have two new players likely to debut after signing Itumeleng Duiker and Mduduzi Nyanda in the last days. Both were out of contract.
Hard-tackling midfielder Duiker was previously at Lamontville Golden Arrows and Black Leopards, while winger Nyanda was at Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United and Platinum Stars.
Ajax are without Thulani Hlatshwayo and Lebogang Matjama so they will have Nazeer Allie back in the defence, where he will line-up on the right hand side. It means Aiden Jenniker and Matthew Booth remain the centre back pairing. Cecil Lolo will likely come onto the bench as he has returned from an injury lay-off.
The new Brazilian signing Wanderson has yet to get his work permit, so he will not travel with the club.