Ertugral explains Zakri sub
Posted: 14 May 2018 Time: 14:00
Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral has explained why he substituted goal-getter Yannick Zakri in his side’s crunch clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday afternoon.
Needing a victory to avoid 15th spot and having to negotiate the play-offs, Ertugral started the encounter with the talented Ivorian, who is the club’s second-highest scorer with four goals, despite only arriving in January.
Yet Zakri looked out of sorts, often slow to the ball, failing to beat his man and struggling to get to grips with the game, with Ertugral deciding to replace him at half-time with Tashreeq Morris.
Having revealed Zakri had been ill in the build-up to the game, Ertugral admitted after the game that the striker had not been 100% fit, and feels he may have been at fault in fielding him from the start.
“On Friday he was vomiting – he was very week, you could see he was slipping all over,” Ertugral said. “He had one chance, but you could see he couldn’t do anything for us. He was also always late in his decisions, and Chiefs players are very quick in their approach – they are very pacey players, and he didn’t manage to get past one, which is his biggest strength, so we had to look at that.
“‘Tassie’ [Morris] was eager to go, and when he came on he made a difference for us. So the decision about starting Zakri was 50-50 – my gut feeling was a bit different, but he had scored a lot of goals for us … whatever you do, generally you are wrong, but I probably should have started Tassie.”
Ertugral says his side was gutted after the defeat, having planned for various situations in the match which they failed to exploit during the 90 minutes.
“We had a lot of hope, and you could see they had the hope – we had even planned and trained for this situation, but the midfield was too high up, and there a lot of other small elements as well,” he said. “But we had worked on them, and in the end, they happened but we could not capitalise on them.”
Ajax’s top-flight future now rests on their play-off performances, starting with their clash away at Black Leopards on Wednesday.