Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
3 minute read
13 Mar 2020
12:07 pm

Nhlapo wants to end promotion race early for Ajax

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Ajax captain Isaac Nhlapo said the result left him angry as they would now be eight points clear had they won the game.

Ajax Cape Town captain Isaac Nhlapo. Ajax Cape Town website.

Ajax Cape Town were lucky that their closest rivals in the race for the GladAfrica Championship title, which comes with automatic promotion to the Absa Premiership couldn’t capitalise on their defeat to Cape Umoya United last Friday.

The loss gave a chance to Swallows FC, who are second after the Urban Warriors in the standings, a chance to cut the lead to two points but they also lost to the University of Pretoria the following day.

Ajax captain Isaac Nhlapo said the result left him angry as they would now be eight points clear had they won the game.

“I was angry about the result against Cape Umoya, I can blame lots of things for the loss but we have seven games to go. I wanted us to end any hopes of other teams getting automatic promotion ahead of us,” Nhlapo told the club’s website.

“In the last game of the season; I want my Ajax family to soak in the season. I don’t want any pressure but we will only manage that if we show heart and win every game going forward – starting with Galaxy this weekend,” added the 29-year-old former Platinum Stars defender.

Nhlapo said no game is more important than the other as they all have three valuable points to offer for a win.

“I am tired of people telling me this game is an important game every time we play… people say we need these points.

“Let me say this… from the moment the season starts until you finish, every game is important and every point is valuable and if you have a mindset like that, you will win things,” he explained.

In Galaxy, the Urban Warriors meet a side who are desperate for points to steer clear of the relegation zone. A defeat could see Mabuti Khenyeza’s side back in the relegation battle as they are seven points above 15th-placed Mbombela United. The game is at Cape Town Stadium at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Other fixtures

Saturday

JDR Stars v Tshakhuma, at Soshanguve Giant Stadium, 3.30pm

Both sides still fancy their chances of getting to at least the promotion play-offs at the end of the season. Four points separate them with Tshakhuma in fourth place with 38 and the Hammer Boys in fifth with 34. A win for either side will improve their chances of achieving something at the end of the term.

Mbombela United v Jomo Cosmos, at Kanyamazane Stadium, 3.30pm

This is a battle to the death as whoever loses this one lessens their chances of surviving relegation. A point separates them going into his match with Ezenkosi in 14th place with 22 points and Tingwenyama behind them on 21.

Swallows v Uthongathi, at Dobsonville Stadium, 3.30pm

Going into this game, the Dube Birds will probably have two wishes – that they win their game and that Ajax lose against TS Galaxy. Brandon Truter’s side missed a chance to close the gap to two points after the Urban Warriors lost last weekend.

Sunday

Royal Eagles v University of Pretoria, at Harry Gwala Stadium, 3.30pm

It is a big chance for AmaTuks to build on their win against Swallows last weekend and register a win that will see them back in contention for the play-offs at the end of the season. For Eagles, another defeat could seal their fate.

Sbu Mpisane’s team are bottom in the Championship standings and have collected just 15 points after 23 games and six points behind Mbombela.

*Real Kings and TS Sporting are participating in the Nedbank Cup this weekend.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.