League title, survival on the line as Chiefs take on Ajax

2013-04-30 11:44

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The fight for league honours and survival, on either end of the Absa Premiership spectrum, will be the two main themes when Kaizer Chiefs face Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow.

Chiefs were six points clear at the top of the table ahead of the midweek fixtures, while Ajax’s quest for survival in top-flight football was poised on a knife edge. They were lying third from bottom, just one point ahead of Black Leopards, who held a game in hand.

AmaKhosi coach Stuart Baxter said his players were completely focussed on getting all three points on offer.

“This is one game in a long line of games where we’ve been saying it is important we get a result,” Baxter said.

“The implication of winning this game is a very healthy situation.”

Baxter said the onus was on his players to brush aside the pressure and deliver the goods.

“The players just have to go out there and perform and deal with all the mental challenges they will face.”

Having dropped points in their last encounter against title challengers Platinum Stars, Baxter did not believe that result had spoiled their chances of lifting the league trophy.

“It doesn’t derail anything. I’ve not been doing any mathematics – like at this stage we should have that.

“If you had told me at the beginning of the season we would be top of the league, with three games left, I’d have taken that in a heartbeat.”

Meanwhile, newly appointed Ajax coach Muhsin Ertugral hoped his charges would handle the pressure in the crucial fixture.

“The mental strength is something I’m worried about,” Ertugral said.

“I need to see the passion. Hopefully my personal presence will give the team hope.

“I have coached most of the players, so they know my views on football.

“The idea is to take the pressure away from them, and put it on my shoulders. We had a short camp, a little bit of talking to each other, and it helped.”

Ertugral, a former Chiefs mentor, was confident his team had the ability to bag three points against the league frontrunners, and warned AmaKhosi not to underestimate his struggling outfit.

“They look of a very high standard and, in my opinion should have already run away with the league,” he said.

“The last weeks, though, they have been struggling to score, so there is a chance for us.

“I don’t know if they will go all out to finish because they also know that our team can be dangerous.”

Tomorrow’s Premiership fixtures: Ajax Cape Town vs Kaizer Chiefs (Cape Town Stadium), University of Pretoria vs Bidvest Wits (Tuks Stadium), Moroka Swallows vs Golden Arrows (Dobsonville Stadium), AmaZulu vs Black Leopards (Princess Magogo Stadium), Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United (Royal Bafokeng Stadium), Bloemfontein Celtic vs SuperSport United (Free State Stadium).

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