Time is ticking down to Friday night’s Cape derby between Ajax Cape Town and Santos, it promises to be an action-packed night in the Mother City.
Both teams have shown good form in the league thus far – the Urban Warriors under Foppe de Haan have a 100% win record: three out if three, while Boebie Solomons has guided his team to seven points from four games.
Ajax Cape Town currently lead the derby count 12-9, but it was the Peoples’ Team who won both last season’s matches, by 2-0 and 1-0 respectively – Bongi Macala and Musa Otieno scoring in the first round game with Erwin Isaacs scoring the only goal in the return leg.
We chat to two key players – Ajax midfielder Granwald Scott and Santos defender Wayne Arendse ahead of this intriguing encounter.
Both are long-time servants of their clubs and both are prime examples of the excellent youth polices at the respective clubs, having risen through the ranks.
A lot of people in Cape Town support clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, or prefer to show their allegiances to the likes of Manchester United or Liverpool. What is your take on support for the local PSL sides in Cape Town?
Granwald Scott: In the past people were not going to the stadiums much, and I think that had to do with the type of football that was being played and how the teams were doing. But Ajax are doing well now, we are near the top of the league and I think the support is getting better. Also the new stadium will make a difference, people want to feel safe when they come with their families to watch games. Now they can do that – the stadium is safe and there is secure parking.
Wayne Arendse: It’s true that there are not that many fans behind Cape Town soccer teams, and to be honest I don’t know what to do to change that – its people’s own choices who they want to follow. All I can do is promise the people of Cape Town we will be going all out to put on a good performance and play good football in the future. They need to start supporting the local sides – be it us, or Vasco, or Ajax. If they start coming, then the football will improve and it will grow from there.
Which area in Cape Town are you from and which team is predominately supported in your neighbourhood?
Granwald Scott: I live in Kensington, and there is very much an Ajax support base there. I don’t know why, but a lot of Rasta’s support Ajax, and there are quite a few who live around Kensington. So hopefully we can bring them the three points on Friday and give them reason to celebrate!
Wayne Arendse: I’m from Mitchells Plain and when I was growing up it was very much a Santos area. Even these days there are more Santos supporters in this area, with just a few Ajax fans, so I am looking to do the people back home proud!
Any highlights from previous derbies that stand out?
Granwald Scott: There was an Absa Cup semi-final a few seasons back that we won that was for me the best derby I have played in. There was extra incentive and effort because a place in the final was at stake. Both teams knew that had to win, a draw wasn’t an option and it was a very exciting game.
Wayne Arendse: It was about two seasons back. We won 1-0 at Athlone and I was awarded man-of-the-match, I think ‘Appels’ (Erwin Isaacs) scored our goal.
The oppositions most dangerous players – if you could sign any player from the opposite camp, who would he be?
Granwald Scott: Erwin Isaacs, without a doubt, he is definitely the man behind Santos. He’s a top player and very dangerous in attack. Graham King is another player who is important for Santos, as is Tyren Arendse, who is part of the Santos culture.
Wayne Arendse: Thulani Serero is their main threat. He is a slippery player who is really coming into his own. He makes things happen for Ajax, dropping deeper, making passes and dangerous runs, we will have to watch him closely. Story by PSL webiste.