Menzo will try to flip the switch to the Ajax way

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

NEW Ajax Cape Town head coach Stan­ley Menzo has made no se­cret of the type of foot­ball he will try to in­stil in his ail­ing squad.

The 53- year- old for­mer Ajax Am­s­ter­dam goal­keeper yes­ter­day re­placed Roger de Sa, who quit this week af­ter a seven-game win­less run.

“My phi­los­o­phy is sim­ple, I want to win foot­ball games,” said Menzo. “I’m from the Ajax Am­s­ter­dam fam­ily and, for us, win­ning comes from play­ing good foot­ball from a good struc­ture. The Ajax way is al­ways to make sure your team has the ball as much as pos­si­ble to deny the op­po­nents op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Menzo has been in South Africa for about six months, act­ing as Ajax’s head of youth since April. But his el­e­va­tion to the hot seat was, it would seem, al­ways on the cards.

“Stan­ley has been on our radar since 2011,” said Ajax chief ex­ec­u­tive Ari Ef­s­tathiou. “At the time, though, he was con­tracted to an­other club. We fi­nally got him to come down as the head of youth this year, and now we have ap­pointed him as the head coach. His rep­u­ta­tion speaks for it­self, and he will know what needs to be done for the club at this point in time.”

Ajax are, of course, in dire straits, em­bar­rass­ingly lan­guish­ing at the base­ment of the PSL stand­ings.

But Menzo will have an op­por­tu­nity to run the rule over his play­ers. He won’t be in charge of tonight’s PSL fix­ture against Su­per­Sport United at Cape Town Sta­dium, but will ob­serve from the stands, while as­sis­tant coach Mich d’Avray calls the shots.

Menzo was born in Para­maribo, Suri­name and, as a player, en­joyed great suc­cess with Dutch gi­ants Ajax. He rep­re­sented the Dutch na­tional team in the World Cup and the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships. He was also the goal­keep­ing coach for the Nether­lands at the 2006 World Cup.

While the new Ajax coach es­poused on his ap­proach to the sport, he is fully aware of the team’s dif­fi­cul­ties. His top pri­or­ity, at this stage, is to bring a mea­sure of con­fi­dence to the squad.

“I’m ex­cited and look­ing for­ward to the job,” said Menzo. “It’s an hon­our… I think the most im­por­tant thing is to bring back the con­fi­dence in the play­ers. We have to start by win­ning, the con­fi­dence will fol­low and the rest will then come.

“It’s al­ways nice when the ef­forts of the young play­ers see them get to the first team. It’s a method I’m used to in Hol­land, and it’s great to see young­sters grow­ing and ma­tur­ing. But I know the sit­u­a­tion we are in at the mo­ment. It’s not pos­i­tive… But then again it’s also pos­i­tive be­cause we know what we need to do.

“For me, as I say, it’s about con­fi­dence, it’s the one thing this team is lack­ing. You can have good devel­op­ment, but if you don’t have con­fi­dence, then it’s a prob­lem,” he added.

“When you are not win­ning, as is hap­pen­ing at Ajax now, then things just don’t hap­pen. You don’t have luck, you get in­juries…

“Hav­ing seen this team play, and hav­ing watched them at train­ing, I be­lieve they shouldn’t be in the po­si­tion they are in. I want to bring them to a higher po­si­tion on the log, I want to bring back the en­joy­ment, and I want them not to be scared of hav­ing pos­ses­sion of the ball.”

Menzo is hop­ing that Ajax can start the turn­around against Su­per­Sport. “Some­times, in foot­ball, it’s the small things that mat­ter, the small de­tails that change a team’s for­tunes,” he said. “Right now, we don’t know what it is… But I will try to find the switch…”

WE CAN ONLY GO UP: New Ur­ban War­riors coach Stan­ley Menzo wants to in­stil con­fi­dence and a win­ning men­tal­ity.

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