Drop-threatened Ajax have to believe they will beat Chiefs‚ says Ertugral

01 May 2018 - 13:44 By Marc Strydom
Yannick Zakri of Ajax Cape Town congratulates Fagrie Lakay of Ajax Cape Town for scoring during the Absa Premiership match between Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United at Athlone Stadium on February 28, 2018 in Cape Town.
Yannick Zakri of Ajax Cape Town congratulates Fagrie Lakay of Ajax Cape Town for scoring during the Absa Premiership match between Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United at Athlone Stadium on February 28, 2018 in Cape Town.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Ajax Cape Town have to believe that they will beat Kaizer Chiefs‚ or they are doomed for the promotion-relegation playoffs‚ their coach Muhsin Ertugral has said.

After losing 3-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday Ajax remain rooted in second-last place and have to beat Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium in the Absa Premiership’s final round on May 12‚ and hope for other teams to lose‚ to escape the playoffs.

“We have to believe in that‚ that we will beat Chiefs‚” Ertugral said.

“I mean‚ we have beaten so many good teams this season‚ including Orlando Pirates at home 3-0. So this team can win at home.”

Three teams‚ 12th-placed Baroka FC (on 34 points‚ who play SuperSport United away on May 12)‚ 13th-positioned Polokwane City (33 points‚ who meet Chippa United at home)‚ and 14th-placed SuperSport (33 points)‚ can conceivably fall below Ajax (31 points) into the playoffs.

Last-placed Platinum Stars‚ on 21 points‚ have already been automatically relegated.

However even there‚ there exists a complication regarding the ongoing eligibility saga of Ajax striker Tendai Ndoro‚ which could see the Urban Warriors having as many as 10 points deducted should the case go badly against them.

Ertugral‚ though‚ continues to put on a brave face at the suggestion that the Ndoro matter‚ over a Fifa ruling that bars players from turning out for more than two clubs in a season‚ leaves Ajax hanging in the air.

“No it does not‚” he said. “For me it’s very clear. Look‚ if you get the driver’s licence‚ you are entitled to drive.

“So what does the DRC (dispute resolution chamber) ruling stand for? If the DRC gives you a driver’s licence‚ that means you can drive.

“And it hurts us – because he’s a quality player and he’s not playing.”

Ajax do appear safe from having points deducted from the five games (two wins‚ a draw and two defeats‚ totaling seven points gained) where they fielded Ndoro after the DRC ruling of January 31 that the player was eligible to play.

National Soccer League Handbook rules indicate that once a decision is made‚ it is binding until such ruling is overturned.

However‚ such issues can be open to legal interpretations‚ and their outcome unpredictable.

It is the three points gained from one of the two games where Ndoro was fielded by Ajax before the DRC ruling – from the 3-1 win against Platinum Stars on January 18 – that the Urban Warriors might be most concerned about losing.

Their best-case scenario is that they beat Chiefs on May 12‚ other results go their way and they have no points deducted‚ so avoid the playoffs.

A medium-case scenario is they beat Chiefs‚ have three points deducted‚ and still have to compete in the playoffs.

Ajax’s worst-case scenario is they have all 10 points deducted‚ having not beaten Chiefs‚ and Platinum beating Bidvest Wits in Rustenburg on May 12 to move to within seven points of the Capetonians. This would mean automatic relegation for Ajax.

The Ndoro matter is awaiting a date for a Safa arbitration hearing.


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