Lartey expects a chiefly sum of three points in Durban
A fresh Rivaldo hopes he can go the distance to help turn the tables
IT may not be a derby but Kaizer Chiefs against Ajax Cape Town always produces enough drama to resemble the atmosphere associated with such a hyped fixture.
Derbies are games featuring clubs from the same region and are driven by the rivalry that emanates from being the best – like Everton versus Liverpool, Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester United against Manchester City.
But there are encounters between clubs from different areas that capture the imagination – like Liverpool vs Manchester United (who face each other on Monday).
Ajax vs Chiefs has reached this status. It’s Joburg against Cape Town and, over the years, it’s delivered some entertaining fare.
When Amakhosi host the Urban Warriors in a PSL fixture at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tonight (6pm kickoff), it should be no different and expect an actionpacked affair.
The two sides enter the match with contrasting sentiments. Chiefs top the log after three successive wins, while Ajax have played four games (two draws and two defeats).
So the Soweto giants will be keen to continue their winning momentum, with the Capetonians desperate to get back on the winning trail.
With Chiefs in such confident mood, the Ajax defence will have to be at its best. New signing, Roscoe Pietersen, who has made an impressive start, is still out suspended, which means that Ghanaian Lawrence Lartey will partner teenager Rivaldo Coetzee,
in the centre of defence.
Lartey certainly has the pedigree. He has represented Ghana at Under- 17, U20, U23 and senior level.
Having begun his career with Nania FC in his home country, he then moved on to Ashanti Gold SC, one of Ghana’s top teams.
Last season, he made the jump to Ajax in the hope that his exposure in the Mother City would pave the way for a career in Europe.
And Lartey is looking forward to tonight’s encounter against Chiefs. “It’s been a long time since we got three points,” the 22-year-old said. “We are expecting a good game against Chiefs but when it’s over, I expect that the result will favour us.
“My aim is to have a good season and, hopefully, that will attract some interest from overseas… because that is the main reason why I joined Ajax.”
The Urban Warriors had great news in the week, with several players returning from injury or illness, including Coetzee, Prince Nxumalo, Thabo Mosadi and Tashreeq Morris.
“Rivaldo is fine, he trained this week without any pain,” Ajax coach Roger de Sa said.
Coetzee is an important part of the Ajax machine and Lartey is of the opinion that the 19- year- old Bafana Bafana international is a huge prospect.
“Rivaldo is a very good player,” the Ghanaian said. “He’s improving all the time, I mean look at his age, he’s so young… I think he has a very bright future.”
For Coetzee, things are mapping out well and he’s looking forward to the clash against Chiefs. “I’ve been training again and I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m fresh, I’ve recovered well, now the challenge is just to see whether I can last a full 90 minutes. “It’ll be tough against Chiefs. They’ve won their last three games and their confidence will be high.
“We know we haven’t done too well, but it’s got to turn around some time, and a game against Chiefs is the perfect stage in which to do so,” Coetzee added.
“We just have to make sure that we put the chances we create into the back of the net.”
LAWRENCE LARTEY: On a mission in the Mother City to catch the eye of a European suitor.