Ajax Cape Town interim head coach Calvin Marlin is geared for a tough test against a Cape Umoya United side which boasts several familiar faces.
The Urban Warriors will be aiming to extend their five-point lead atop the GladAfrica Championship standings with victory over Umoya at Athlone Stadium on Friday afternoon. Kick-off is at 3:30pm CAT.
Club captain Isaac Nhlapo’s powerful header spearheaded Ajax Cape Town to all three points away to Jomo Cosmos last weekend, and Marlin admits ‘The Lion’ proved him wrong.
“I must say I was very proud of the guys regarding the win, travelling is never easy in football especially when you go to a team who are situated near the bottom of table. Every single player managed to follow the instructions to pull off a decent win,” said Marlin.
He continued: “I had a good laugh with Isaac after the game because he landed up proving me wrong regarding a discussion we had in the mid-week, I said I don’t see the point in Isaac going up for the corners because he doesn’t score. Let’s just say he quickly reminded me that not only did he prove me wrong but the team kept a clean sheet as well.
Umoya have strengthened their team with the signings of former Ajax Cape Town captain Travis Graham and winger Riyaad Norodien last month – adding to an already strong core of former Urban Warriors that includes Jody February, Ndiviwe Mdabuka and Roscoe Pietersen.
“It’s going to be a tough game, the truth is I feel all Cape Town teams raise their game when they play against Ajax because a lot of players in these squads have been part of Ajax at some point of their career,” Marlin added.
“Coach [Maahier] Davids was even here and he has just brought in Norodien and Graham, on top of that he has February, Diva, Roscoe and I’ve probably missed a name or two, but getting back to the point, it’s not going to be easy at all because they all have a point to prove and I really do believe this game will boil down to who wants it more!
“We don’t have an easy task selecting players because we have a couple injuries now, Katlego [Otladisa] will be ruled out for a long time after finding out he fractured his leg in the Jomo game and we are getting Abednego [Mosiatlhaga] ready for the match but I am very confident in the squad regardless of who I have to select.
“I have fighters in this team, all I have to say to the players every time we play is; who wants the win more?”