Ajax Cape Town need nothing less than three points from their match against SuperSport United.
The two sides face each other at the Cape Town Stadium tomorrow at 3.30pm.
The Urban Warriors drew 0-0 midweek with Bloemfontein Celtic, not a bad result from home.
But with the three teams above them on the Absa Premiership table – Pirates, Chiefs and Sundowns – all winning, the Cape team will need maximum points off the league champions to ensure they don’t fall further behind in the title chase.
Ajax meanwhile knows that they cannot underestimate the struggling three-time champions.
A big part of Ajax’s success is down to the fine form shown by George Maluleka in the middle of the park, where his strength and hard work provide the platform from which the likes of Thulani Serero and Khama Billiat can create havoc.
Maluleka says Ajax must be ready for to face whatever SuperSport throw at them.
“We were a bit disappointed by our draw with Celtic, we felt we could have got the points.
“This makes us determined to beat SuperSport, but we must be ready to fight hard, on their day they are a top side.”
The Urban Warriors midfielder is looking forward to facing his former employers, who he joined from AmaTuks.
“It’s always nice to face your own team, to put one over them and to play well.
“But it is not about me – there is no point to prove – it’s about Ajax,” said Maluleka, who was converted from a striker to a holding midfielder since arriving in the Cape.
SuperSport midfielder-cum striker Ashley Hartog made his debut for the Tshwane side, scoring in his first match, but ending up on the losing side as Bidvest Wits won 2-1.
The former FC Cape Town player is looking forward to returning to the Mother City and hopes to help United come away with three points.
“It felt great to score on debut, but unfortunately when the game ended my feeling was more of disappointment as we lost.
“I can’t wait to turn out at the Cape Town Stadium – I remember saying to a friend when we drove past that ‘one day I’m going to play here’, so hopefully I’ll get my chance. “We need to be at our best though – Ajax is doing well. They are a team that plays only to win and are a big threat in attack,” said Hartog. Hartog was used as a target-man by coach Gavin Hunt, even though he normally plays midfield, appears set to fill the role vacated by the injured Glen Salmon. There are several players on both sides with links to the opposition – Mario Booysen and Brent Carelse were involved in a mid-season loan swap deal, while he likes of coach Hunt, Mogogi Gabonamong, Ricardo Katza, David Kannemeyer, Dipsy Selolwane and Lyle Lackay all hail from the Cape, although not from Ajax.
The rest of the Absa Premiership fixtures this weekend are:
Tomorrow: Free State Stars v Golden Arrows (Goble Park), AmaZulu v Platinum Stars (Moses Mabhida), Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Harry Gwala, 8.15pm)
Sunday, February 06:
Mamelodi Sundowns v Santos (Lucas Moripe), Bidvest Wits v Vasco da Gama (Bidvest), Black Aces v Orlando Pirates (Mbombela). Kick-Off for all the matches is 3.30pm, unless stated.Backpagepix