But key Soweto Derby looms large on Saturday against Orlando Pirates
Chiefs face a crunch clash against Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday and with just one point separating those two at the top of the table, the already fierce fixture will have extra significance.
Stuart Baxter’s Chiefs have seen their once commanding lead at the top of the table whittled down to just that single point after defeat at Platinum Stars last time out and for that reason he says they will have their attention fixed squarely on Ajax tomorrow.
“The game against Ajax Cape Town is a double tough game for us. It is important that both our eyes are fixed on the first game and that is a focus for now. We cannot afford to think about the game over the weekend,” Baxter told his club’s website.
“It can be a bit of distraction when you have a game ahead of the derby which makes the game at hand even more important and tougher. I have to continue addressing this with the players as we continue to prepare for the Ajax game.
“Ajax has had a tough ride that saw changes in the coaching personnel. They will be optimistic coming to Peter Mokaba following their last win against Chippa United. They have good players who can rise to the occasion on any day.
“Ajax plays the Dutch way with lot of wing play, something that they have done for a long time. We will need to up our game and certainly do much better than we did at our last outing against Platinum Stars. The players and all of us are looking forward to this game.”
Baxter can welcome back key midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane from suspension for the game.
Ajax rather labored to that win over Chippa, their 3-2 success owing more to the defensive lapses by their city rivals than any incisive play.
But with their squad now more settled by the news that player-favourite Jan Pruijn will remain in charge of the side for the foreseeable future, you could see the confidence begin to come back into their play.
"I knew that the end of Chiefs' unbeaten run would come closer and closer; if it wasn't last week it was going to be on Tuesday, if not then it was going to be against Pirates,” Pruijn told reporters.
“However, that's history, and in a way I think that we need to be very good and very prepared. There has always been talk that Ajax away have struggled but to me that doesn't matter, if you play at home or away it's going to be the same preparation.
"Unfortunately the results haven't come our way playing away so I can only say with four games left [before the festive season break] and playing Chiefs away I have a certain plan to win the game."
|DID YOU KNOW|
- Chiefs have an excellent home record so far this season, with five wins and a draw from six matches.
Ajax have won just one of their six away matches so far this season, and suffered four defeats.
- In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Ajax have met in 26 league matches since 1999/2000. The Soweto side has claimed 10 wins compared to seven for the Cape side, while no less than nine matches have ended in draws.
- Chiefs have won seven and lost just two of their 13 home league games against Ajax. They have beaten the Cape team at home for the past four successive seasons.
- Last season the Urban Warriors won 2-1 in Cape Town, while the Amakhosi won the return match 2-0.