Stuck in 12th position on the PSL standings, the Cape side hosts Wits at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm). While there’s nothing to aim for from a club perspective, 25-year-old striker Nxumalo has a shot at winning the PSL’s Golden Boot, which is awarded to the leading goalscorer.
With the PSL heading into final day of the campaign on Saturday, Nxumalo has 13 goals, just one behind the top marksman, Collins Mbesuma of Mpumalanga Black Aces.
It certainly gives the Ajax squad something to play for. A solid, professional outing against second-placed Wits, combined with the smooth passing style the Capetonians are known for when they are on song, is sure to create a number of scoring opportunities. And, no doubt, the team will be looking to regularly feed Nxumalo, so that the striker can add to his tally, and attempt to overhaul Zambian Mbesuma.
The fact that the Ajax man is still in the race for the Golden Boot is, in fact, a victory in itself. His problems with epilepsy, which hindered his progress this season have been well-documented. He missed a number of games and, yet, he is still in there challenging - and, with a bit of luck and a lot of help from his teammates on Saturday, Nxumalo could well sign off the season with the biggest gong of his career.
But, in Wits, Ajax face opponents probably still feeling the effects of being unable to take the title race to the final day. The Students have had a magnificent season, but, unfortunately, one of their best-ever campaigns has coincided with the title march of a superb Mamelodi Sundowns squad.
PSL champions Sundowns have just been far, far too good. With an extraordinary squad of players, they’ve just been a cut above the rest.
Three years ago, Wits, as a club, decided to change direction. Always viewed as a development team, they made a major about-turn. They no longer wanted to be also-rans - they wanted to be a title-challenger, among the elite clubs of local football.
To implement their vision, the Students appointed Capetonian Gavin Hunt as head coach. He quickly, in his usual, inimitable way, set about the job. After a rebuilding phase under Hunt, this season was the ideal time to for Wits to snatch the championship - they were one of the better teams on show - but, as said earlier, their best came at the same time as Sundowns’ vastly superior performances.
Wits’ runners-up place is secure, with third-placed Platinum Stars 10 points behind - but Hunt would love his team to finish with a flourish, and prove just why they were touted as being among the best in the PSL this season.
Even more importantly, Hunt is returning to his home town, along with a few ex-Ajax stars like Moeneeb Josephs, Nazeer Allie and Thulani Hlatshwayo, and they will definitely want to make such a nostalgic trip a winning one.
Leading PSL scorers
14 - Collins Mbesuma (MP Black Aces)
13 - Prince Nxumalo (Ajax Cape Town)
12 - Thobani Mncwango (Polokwane City)
11 - Jeremy Brockie (SuperSport United); Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns)
10 - Ndumiso Mabena (Platinum Stars); Leonardo Castro (Mamelodi Sundowns)
SATURDAY (all games at 3pm): Kaizer Chiefs v Chippa United; University of Pretoria v Golden Arrows; Orlando Pirates v SuperSport United; Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars; Ajax Cape Town v Wits (Cape Town Stadium); Jomo Cosmos v Maritzburg Utd; Bloemfontein Celtic v Polokwane City; Black Aces v Free State Stars
Original source: Mbesuma or Nxumalo - who’ll be top scorer?