Slick surface at Cape Town Stadium best suits their style
Beleaguered Ajax Cape Town hope home advantage will provide the impetus for only their second win of the Premier Soccer League season when they take on Pretoria University on Saturday.
Just a single win in their first five games has left the club looking a little shell shocked. Their run includes three away defeats but the lush green surface at the Cape Town Stadium could prove the catalyst for a bounce-back.
Coach Maarten Stekelenburg has described the game, likely to be played in wet and windy weather, as a must win: “The fact that we now need to win at home against Tuks is quite clear,” he said after Ajax went down 2-0 to Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night.
Ajax’s last home game was their only success to date and the rampant showing in the 4-1 win suggested the team could emerge as contenders as the season progressed.
But they then followed that up with two limp performances, away at Bloemfontein Celtic and Pirates.
Up against them will be the league’s new boys, who have got off to an unexpected unbeaten start to the season. Even more of a shock has been the fact they have won all their home away games so far, at Lamontville Golden Arrows and last season’s runners-up Moroka Swallows.
At home it has been a different story with three successive draws, a statistic that suggests an inconsistency usually associated with newcomers to the top flight.
But coach Steve Barker was pleased with the goalless draw on Tuesday night against Platinum Stars.
"It was a battling performance of good character,” he told reporters afterwards.
“Overall, we have to take every point we can in this league. It's a tough league.”
The students have strengthen their side considerably in the off season to be as competitive as possible.
"We are still a team that is young in age, a team that's getting to know each other.
"There are a lot of new players so we haven't been able to really hit our straps yet, but as long as we keep trying and battling away, that's all we can ask.
"I'm surprised in that we've been able to remain unbeaten in five games, having so many new players making their debuts in the Premiership," he added.