Lartey ex­pects a chiefly sum of three points in Dur­ban

A fresh Ri­valdo hopes he can go the dis­tance to help turn the ta­bles

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROD­NEY REIN­ERS

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.

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