Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral expecting more from Yannick Zakri
Posted: 30 January 2018 Time: 09:10
Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral says he highly rates new signing Yannick Zakri, but feels it’s unfair to judge the Ivorian after just one game in his new team.
The 26-year-old was unveiled as an Urban Warrior last week, and immediately slotted into the starting line-up as the struggling Absa Premiership outfit were held to a goalless draw at home to Free State Stars on Friday night.
Starting up front, Zakri showed his undeniable talent in holding up the ball well and using his strength, yet found himself out of position on a number of occasions as he struggled to gel with his new teammates.
“It was obviously Yannick’s first game,” Ertugral said. “He didn’t know sometimes if he should stay away, or go. He always went to the near post instead of the far post, and balls always came over him, as we had trained over the last couple of weeks for those balls to come in at a certain angle at the far past, and he always went to the first post – twice that happened.
“But he hasn’t trained with us long enough to do that.”
Ertugral feels the entire squad still need to get to know their new teammate, but feels the “impressive” Zakri will only get better after more training sessions at Ikamva.
“The players need to understand him better,” the Turk continued. “He doesn’t lose the ball, at all, but there was a problem on Friday with the direct ball played to him – he would often open the body as he wanted the ball in the channel, but we were playing the ball to his feet, which made him angry – and he told me that in the dressing room.
“But these are training elements for me to pick up on, and the players around him need to see that a bit quicker, to release him. Zakri is an extremely good player, and is able to buy time, stretching two opposition players out towards him so that the next lines open up. But the late runs from midfield weren’t quick enough, and that’s why he was holding onto the ball.
“They’re small elements, but Yannick, having been here for such a short time and after just a few training sessions, was impressive.”
Ertugral will hope the forward will be on song ahead of Ajax’s midweek clash against Orlando Pirates, set to take place at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday evening.