Ajax now free to focus on avoiding relegation

MUHSIN ERTUGRAL - "Now we have Arrows, SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic in a row. So that's where the key games are for us and we have to be prepared," he said.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral will have his work cut out trying to save the Urban Warriors from relegation. The Mother City team is now out of the Nedbank Cup after losing 2-0 to Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium at the weekend.

It could be a blessing in disguise to exit the Ke Yona Cup as they can now focus fully on their survival.

Ajax are 15th on the log with nine Absa Premiership matches to play and it goes without saying that they have to start winning.

Alongside bottom side Platinum Stars, Ajax have lost the most number of league matches (10).

The last thing Ajax want is to get to the last couple of games still in the relegation zone - they face Mamelodi Sundowns (away) and Kaizer Chiefs (home) in their last two games of the season.

So it's crucial to start collecting points immediately.

Ertugral's other challenge would be to ensure experienced defender Siboniso Gaxa is fully fit before their next match against Golden Arrows away on February 25.

Gaxa, 33, had a good first half against Pirates and showed leadership qualities in the Urban Warriors defence but he cramped in the second half, which is understandable considering this was his first match of the season having signed for Ajax recently.

The Turk also wants his charges to be calm and not "be hasty" in the final third, so they can combine well and get the goals.

The positive is that Ajax haven't lost in their last three league games, with a win and two draws.

Ertugral, despite the above-mentioned challenges and possibly more, remains optimistic.

"Now we have Arrows, SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic in a row. So that's where the key games are for us and we have to be prepared," he said.

"Tricky or not, I think I have enough experience to help the team."

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