De Sa staying grounded as Ajax go top

By Drum Digital
27 August 2014

Ajax Cape Town coach Roger De Sa's focus remains on avoiding relegation, despite the fact that his side went top of the Premiership standings.

Ajax Cape Town coach Roger De Sa's focus remains on avoiding relegation, despite the fact that his side went top of the Premiership standings on Tuesday night. "When I was asked where to from here, I said 'home'. And then to PE on Thursday for the match against Chippa United on Friday. You can't think too far ahead right now, I think there is such a long way to go," De Sa said after a well-deserved 3-1 victory over an expensively-assembled Wits side at the Athlone Stadium on Tuesday. His youthful Urban Warriors team had taken 10 points from their opening four matches this season, achieving this feat while still waiting for a handful of their foreign-born players to receive work permits. Added to the Cape side's growing reputation, they also celebrated the call up of three of their players to the Bafana Bafana squad recently. De Sa, though, said there was still a long season ahead and he would not get carried away with what had been a promising start.

"I might stick it [the PSL table] up on my wall," he said laughingly.

"Ten points, 20 points and then to go to the magical 30 [the minimum amount of points usually required to avoid being relegated].

"It's just good to have the points in the bag and to be at the top rather than the bottom right now, but its early days."

The former Wits and Orlando Pirates manager seems to be getting the best out of several Ajax teenage players, and praised the contributions from his central defensive pairing of Abubaker Mobara (19) and Rivaldo Coetzee (17), who started the game even though Nazier Allie and Dominic Isaacs were available.

"Overall, I have got to be happy with the youngsters. Again Bara [Mobara] and Rivaldo were brilliant. As long as they are doing the job, there is not much reason to change them.

"The young boys at the back have been outstanding and it's probably our strength right now."

De Sa also singled out the form of veteran striker Nathan Paulse, who scored a brace against the Students, and whose physical presence played a big part in the win.

"We played off the break a little bit with Nathan, who I thought was fantastic again -- he was outstanding."

Wits coach Gavin Hunt also felt Paulse was the difference on the night.

"We couldn't handle the long ball from them the whole night, and I thought Nathan Paulse was magnificent. We tried to play football, but we got out-muscled and out-fought with that long ball from the back, and then they played off that and we struggled the whole night," Hunt said.

"We have got to sort out a few things as we have a lot of new players in the side. We'll sort it out. "We've created a lot of chances this season, but I think we have scored one, maybe two goals in five or six games from open play.

"But we are looking to get another three players in before the transfer window closes, so I'm looking forward to that."


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