Menzo will try to flip the switch to the Ajax way
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…”
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