Ajax coach Menzo showers praise on wantaway defender Coetzee
Ajax Cape Town coach Stanley Menzo reserved praise for wantaway defender Rivaldo Coetzee‚ but admitted his lack of pre-season training was a factor in his early removal from the 1-1 Absa Premiership draw with Lamontville Golden Arrows at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Coetzee scored his first professional goal to equalise for Ajax‚ but was then substituted before the hour-mark‚ left looking forlorn on the bench with his hamstring heavily strapped with an ice-pack.
The centre-back had looked off the pace at times after missing three weeks of Ajax’s pre-season when he chose not to train with the squad as he pushed for a move away from the club that has yet to materialise.
Scottish Premier League side Glasgow Celtic had sent scouts to watch the 20-year-old‚ but will have learned little new on Saturday.
“He scored a goal that was important for us … but it was difficult for him‚ he didn’t train for three weeks. And you could see that.
"It wasn’t easy for him‚ and there is still a lot of work to do‚” Menzo said.
Ajax were able to claim a deserved point after conceding a horror goal in the first half when goalkeeper Brandon Petersen’s attempted pass out of defence rebounded 30-yards off Golden Arrows striker Lerato Lamola and into the net.
“They got that goal … these things happen in football. In the second half we had to go for the [equalising] goal and it came‚ … luckily. But then you could see we got tired‚” Menzo said.
“The first half we were a little bit weak.
"At every second ball we were always too late and then it is difficult to play our way of football. When we had the ball they made the space very tight‚ so it wasn’t easy to find the right player.
“A point is fair‚ I think they played very well.
"We couldn’t get hold of them‚ they could play the ball from behind and between our lines‚ it was actually a big problem for us.”