Ajax complete first mission with win in play-offs

08 September 2020 - 09:31
By Sihle Ndebele
Calvin Marlin (Interim Head Coach) chats with players during the GladAfrica Championship match between Ajax Cape Town and Richards Bay at Rand Stadium on August 12, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gavin Barker/Gallo Images/BackpagePix Calvin Marlin (Interim Head Coach) chats with players during the GladAfrica Championship match between Ajax Cape Town and Richards Bay at Rand Stadium on August 12, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As much as the mission isn't accomplished yet, Ajax Cape Town coach Calvin Marlin appeared relieved after reviving their promotion hopes by beating Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) 3-2 at Rand Stadium at the weekend. 

Having been top of the GladAfrica Championship table for the better part of the season, Ajax ended up finishing second behind Swallows, who triumphed via a better goal difference as both sides accumulated 57 points.

The Urban Warriors, who were demoted to the second tier in 2018 after being docked nine points for fielding ineligible striker Tendai Ndoro, aim to secure the remaining spot in the Premiership by winning the round-robin play-offs.

Winning the first game against TTM, where Eleazar Rodgers, Sonwabile Mfecane and Kegan Johannes were on target, has  afforded Marlin breathing space. TTM's goals were netted by Thembisani Nevhulamba and Tebogo Thangwane. Ajax next face Black Leopards, who finished 15th in the elite league, at FNB Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

“Exactly what we wanted, the three points, that's all that matters. I mean, just conceding those two goals was disappointing, but good to see the boys fighting again [after the heartbreak of being pipped to automatic promotion by Swallows]," said a visibly relieved Marlin.

“First game we have to get three points, put pressure on the other teams straight away. If we had to lose this game [against TTM], to think [there are only] three games to go, you have to win all the three. So you have to be in the driving seat from the first game.”

Heading into the second match against Lidoda Duvha, Marlin has urged his troops to improve on ball retention and show a sense of urgency when they are penetrating the opponent's rearguard. 

“I think we've got to get a little bit better on the ball, better tactically. We must just remember our roles on the field, what we need to do. We also need to be more serious in our execution when we go forward,'' said the Ajax mentor.