Ajax Cape Town coach Maarten Stekelenburg has been pushed to the brink by Saturday’s 5-1 home humiliation at the hands of University of Pretoria.
The defeat was the fourth in five games for the side, but it was perhaps the manner of the loss that will be most troubling for club management.
The Urban Warriors’ defensive statistics have been shocking over the last 12 months. Only Black Leopards (58) conceded more than the 49 goals Ajax shipped in the 2011/12 Absa Premiership campaign, while they have kept just one clean-sheet so far in 20 matches in 2012, away to Maritzburg United in February of this year.
This year they have already shipped 14 goals and have the joint-worse defensive record in the PSL along with AmaZulu.
When questioned about that record a few weeks ago, Stekelenburg remained defiant, saying his side backed themselves to score more goals that their opponents. The problem remains that they are not.
“Certain teams have certain philosophies about how the game should be played. We are an attacking side and our belief is always that we will score more than we concede,” Stekelenburg said.
“We want to go out there to win matches, to play good football and to entertain the supporters. That is what we believe in as a club. We realise that comes with taking risks, it means we sometimes press more in the opponents half and if you don’t do that well, you will give goals away.”
If you include the second half of last season, Ajax have managed just three wins in their last 21 matches in all competitions, certainly relegation form.
Next up for Ajax is an away trip to fellow strugglers AmaZulu. Stekelenburg may be given this one final opportunity to save himself, but defeat there would almost certainly spell a change at the helm for the Urban Warriors.