There’s a bigger picture for Cale
Shunned Ajax star a threat to Amakhosi
A FOOTBALLER cannot concern himself with things that are beyond his control. He can only go out on to the field of play, perform to the best of his ability, and hope that his talent is recognised and rewarded.
This is the situation faced by Ajax Cape Town’s star left-winger Franklin Cale as he leads his club’s assault on the MTN8 cup competition tomorrow.
Ajax take on Kaizer Chiefs in a second leg semi-final of this lucrative and popular event – the winner pockets a healthy R8 million – at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 3pm), and Cale is primed to play a vital, influential role for the Cape side.
Cale has been one of the most consistent performers in the South African PSL over the last two seasons. He has been the creative spark that has seen the Capetonians to great success. His pace, power, blinding skill and crossing ability are the fulcrum to all that is offensive about Ajax’s approach to the sport.
While his talent and ability have been recognised by Ajax, and overseas clubs have shown an interest, Cale has not been able to convince the Bafana Bafana selectors of his worth.
He was called up once to be part of the SA national football squad – but was not even given a chance off the bench. It’s a state of affairs that disappoints Cale, though he knows there’s absolutely nothing he can do about it.
His job – and his objective this season – is simply to play football. This is within his control and is what he will do.
Last season, Cale was the subject of numerous enquiries from a few overseas clubs. But Ajax rate their 26-year-old winger so highly, they moved quickly to secure a longer stay. And, earlier this season, Cale signed a three-year extension to his current Ajax contract.
Tomorrow, Cale continues his jour ney to win over the Bafana selectors.
The 2010 World Cup is 292 days away. And for a local lad from the Cape townships, what would be better than to be a part of the Bafana World Cup squad right here on South African soil.
That’s the aim. That’s the objective.
Chiefs, though, won’t be pushed aside lightly tomorrow.
Ajax coach Muhsin Ertugral, a former Amakhosi coach, is aware of the danger posed by a wounded Chiefs side.
“Chiefs are always Chiefs, a great club with very good players,” said Ertugral. “They will be determined and will come out fighting tomorrow, of that I am sure.”
And Chiefs have much to offer in terms of wanting to get back at Ajax.
In addition to losing the first leg 1-0, Chiefs were also lumped with a R500 000 fine (R150 000 suspended) for the raucous, vandalistic behaviour of their fans during that first leg at Newlands.
Chiefs welcome back strikers Nkosinathi Nhleko and Venezuelan Jose Torrealba to the squad.
Having struggled in front of goal of late, the duo provides a significant boost for Serbian coach Vladimir Ver mezovic ahead of tomorrow’s cup tie.
“We have had to do without the services of (Nkosinathi) Nhleko and (Jose) Torrealba for the past two games, after both were injured, and it left us thin up front,” said Vermezovic. “Now that they are back, we should be stronger in that department.
“Last time, against Ajax, in the second half of the game, we showed that we can play and, to me, it was a good sign. We know that we can bounce back from our current slump and start showing the same form we showed during pre-season.
“That defeat to Ajax is water under the bridge ... this is a new game, with new opportunities.”