Some­times, it takes a silly goal to change ev­ery­thing

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

CON­SIS­TENCY, goals and Lady Luck have all de­serted Ajax Cape Town but coach Roger de Sa is not about to bury his head in the sand.

Five games into the PSL sea­son, Ajax are yet to win (two draws and three de­feats) and De Sa – the pro­fes­sional that he is – is fully aware of how pre­car­i­ous the sit­u­a­tion is.

But he’s not about to ig­nore the signs of dan­ger, he knows it has to be dealt with – that’s just the na­ture of the coach­ing hot seat in any top-flight league across the foot­ball world.

Ajax face Su­perS­port United in the open­ing round of the Telkom Knock­out in At­teridgeville tonight (8.15pm kick­off) and for De Sa, it’s im­por­tant that his men turn things around as quickly as pos­si­ble, even if they have to do so in a cup tie.

“Of course, there’s pres­sure,” De Sa said. “As a foot­ball coach, there’s pres­sure ev­ery week. But we can’t shy away from where we are in the league, we just have to face the prob­lem head on, and have a go. We have to get it right, we have to get out of this rut as soon as pos­si­ble. We just have to fo­cus on our­selves and I’m sure that a few good per­for­mances will turn it all around.

“Look, the big prob­lem is that we haven’t scored enough goals,” he added. “We’re cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties all the time, but we are just not con­vert­ing.

“Some­times, you know, it just takes a mo­ment that changes ev­ery­thing. It could be a silly goal that de­flects off some­one and goes into the net. All we need is a bit of luck, although of­ten it’s even bet­ter when you cre­ate your own luck. We just need it to turn and then build from there…”

De Sa was ex­pect­ing a tough out­ing against an in- form Su­perS­port side, though he did sug­gest that the struc­tured style of the Pretoria club could just be the ideal op­po­si­tion for the Ur­ban War­riors to plot a change in for­tune.

“With Stu­art Bax­ter as coach, you know the op­po­nents are go­ing to be or­gan­ised and struc­tured,” De Sa said. “They’ve got a good, well-bal­anced squad, they’ve made some qual­ity sign­ings, and they’ve got great depth. It doesn’t mat­ter who plays, they’ll be strong.

“But we know what to ex­pect and some­times that’s good be­cause you can plan and pre­pare – and it’s bet­ter than play­ing a team you don’t know so well.

“I don’t think our re­sults so far have been a re­flec­tion of how we’ve played. We’ve done okay, though we have been bad in patches and given away some soft goals. It just needs to turn, and if it’s in to­day’s cup game, then so be it.”

But Nathan Paulse, Le­bo­hang Mokoena and Toriq Losper all miss out through in­jury. Ajax have a busy week – tonight it’s Su­perS­port, Wed­nes­day it’s Wits in the PSL and next Satur­day it’s Mat­sat­santsa again, this time in the league ( the two league games are both at Cape Town Sta­dium) – which means that De Sa faces an in­trigu­ing se­lec­tion jug­gle.

“Even with the in­juries, we have more than enough to choose from,” said De Sa. “There are a few young­sters knock­ing quite hard on the se­lec­tion door. The prob­lem is that some of them are pre­par­ing for ex­ams, and we have to take that into con­sid­er­a­tion as well. But I can tell you that a one or two of them will get some game time tonight.

“This is a great bunch of guys I’m work­ing with. The squad puts in the ef­fort, they sup­port each other, and you won’t see any­body drop his chin be­cause he has not been se­lected. We have to back them… be­cause, with their com­mit­ment and hard work, it has to turn, and I’m sure it will.” Telkom Knock­out first-round fix­tures To­day: Free State Stars v Wits, Kaizer Chiefs v Mar­itzburg, Su­perS­port United v Ajax Cape Town (At­teridgeville, 8.15pm). To­mor­row: Orlando Pi­rates v Golden Ar­rows, Baroka FC v Plat­inum Stars.

ROGER DE SA: Hopes for a turn in for­tune

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