Cape Town Stadium will once again bear witness to one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, the iKapa Derby on Saturday afternoon.
The iKapa Derby is slowly becoming one of the most exciting fixtures on the South African football calendar as both Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City battle it out to be the Mother City’s premier club.
Historically, Ajax are the older of the two clubs as they were founded in 1999 and they have built a reputation as being Cape Town’s most recognisable club, producing some of the most best players that South African football has seen in recent years, but since the inception of the Citizens, the gap is beginning to close steadily.
Although, City are relatively new to the South African football scene, they're ambitious approach has been a breath of fresh air.
For many years, Ajax were seen as a breathing ground for young, quality footballers who were looking to use the Cape Town-based outfit as a springboard onto greater things, and a club such as the Urban Warriors would never truly enjoy the fruits of their labour as they would lose their most-prized assets to Gauteng-based outfits or abroad.
Players such as Rivaldo Coetzee, Sameehg Doutie, Thulani Serero and Moeneeb Josephs and Khama Billiat come to mind as players who if they chose to stay at Ajax could have placed the club among the best in the business.
However, with Benni McCarthy being roped in at Ajax’s neighbours, the tide is beginning to turn in the Mother City, thanks to John Comitis.
Under the helm of the businessman and former Ajax co-owner, City have become an attractive proposition for the crème de la crème of South African and African players. Players such as Ayanda Patosi, Bradley Ralani, Masoud Juma and Victor Obinna have all chosen to move to the Mother City, as they have bought into the City project.
But while City continue to make headlines daily and see their star players in lights, the reality is simple, that for Ajax, if the situation of losing their best players continue and their fortunes on the field is not turned around anytime soon, then they may not only forever play second fiddle to their rivals, but they potentially could head down a similar route of another successful Capetonian club in Santos.
Nonetheless, if Ajax’s latest transfer business is an indication of the future, then perhaps there is still hope. The gap between the two clubs is narrow for the time-being considering that they have both enjoyed similar cup success, but the fear is that if City are to eventually move on to achieve further success be it domestically or on the continent, then the Ajax brand runs the risk of being forgotten due to their lack of ambition. After all, it seems like Ajax’s ambition has only dwindled after narrowly losing out on the league title only a few seasons ago.
It is that spirit which they showed under former coach Foppe de Haan which they will need to display should they hope to reclaim their tag as Cape Town’s number one football side.