Winless on the road over the entire season, the Urban Warriors were down 1-0 eight minutes into the second half as Mxolisi Machupu put the Chilli Boys ahead, yet levelled matters through perennial goal scorer Yannick Zakri on the stroke of full-time on Sunday.
The Ivorian celebrated by taking off his jersey and revelling with his teammates, something which left his coach fuming.
“What I also don’t understand is that we come back into the game, but we are celebrating at 1-1 – you can’t celebrate at 1-1!” a frustrated Ertugral exclaimed. “You need to get back as quick as possible to try and score a second, as for us it's three points that are important, not the one. Sometime we are on a different planet, which makes me very angry.”
Ertugral says he did not take any positives from the draw in Port Elizabeth, before taking goal scorer Zakri to task.
“I didn’t see any positives, as we didn’t play how we wanted to,” he said. “I’m now stopping myself from being ‘Mr Nice Guy’ – it's high time that some of the boys understand where we stand. Celebrating 1-1 is something that makes me think, ‘Are we here? What’s going on?’
“Taking your shirt off, getting a yellow card – I mean really? I don’t understand that. It’s really unprofessional. It’s not about the celebration about the 1-1, it’s that we needed to win. We worked so hard and went to Chippa to win the game. Also, Zakri had so many chances, not just shots, but to create in the last third, the last pass, but then doesn’t execute. Sometimes I don’t understand what goes through players’ minds.”
The draw left Ajax in 15th place on the Absa Premiership log, a point behind 14th-placed SuperSport United with just three games left in the campaign, as Ertugral issued a rallying cry for his troops.
“We have to stop babying our players sometimes,” he said. “We are maybe on the right way, but this club is very important for South African football. This is also why I came back, as I have also put my thinking on this platform – Ajax is a team that left, right and centre produces South African football players, youngsters. And it has to be, in order for this team to continue in the PSL.
“We are all responsible for that, not to celebrate 1-1. Everyone should want to go for the second goal, and that made me angry.”
Ajax face Baroka FC in their next league clash scheduled for Tuesday, 24 April.