Ever since defeating Egypt’s Zamalek in the Caf Champions League final last month, Sundowns have been the toast of the PSL and South Africa. But they are now having to play catch-up in the league and, importantly, most of the Pretoria club’s focus at the moment is on their participation in the prestigious Fifa Club World Cup in Japan next week. The tournament runs from 8-18 December - and, with Spanish giants Real Madrid involved, it’s easy to understand why Sundowns could be a little distracted on Wednesday.
And, with Ajax keen to keep their winning momentum, after picking up their first PSL victory of the season last week (3-2 over Platinum Stars), they won’t be lacking in motivation.
New coach Stanley Menzo is slowly but surely bringing his message across. His philosophy is based on confidence on the ball, and he has rapidly worked to also change the look and feel of the team.
Striker Nathan Paulse is making his way back to full fitness after recently undergoing an operation to repair a fractured cheekbone. He was on the bench for last week’s win over Dikwena.
“It was a good win over Platinum and the team deserved all the credit for the hard work and the attitude they showed,” said Paulse. “It was a much-needed win... The players are starting to believe in themselves, which is good for the club. The win has given the entire squad a boost. We still have a long way to go, but that win was a good start.”
Ajax captain Travis Graham is looking forward to Wednesday’s outing against the Brazilians.
“Mamelodi Sundowns are the kings of Africa, so obviously this will be a very difficult game,” said Graham. “We will give them the respect they deserve, but it is still just another game. We have to make sure that we do our own thing and, because we are at home, we must use the advantage we have.”
Original source: Ajax won’t be lacking in motivation against Sundowns