‘Mzwakali was perfect’

Menzo had heavily criticised Mzwakali in recent weeks, with the attacking midfielder not even making the bench for Ajax’s previous three matches, yet the Dutch coach said he had a brainwave in the build up to Saturday’s clash against Bloemfontein Celtic on how to include both Mzwakali and favoured forward Morris in the team.

“I tell my staff that I usually take a shower and that’s when things come to my head, so I thought we should play Bantu on the outside, keep Prince [Nxumalo] at 9 and put 'Tassie' [Morris] at 10, and Bantu and Tassie could swap,” the coach said. “And both could play either position, and both scored! So sometimes you need a bit of luck as a coach as well, but in the end it’s their thing.”

Menzo was delighted that his plan worked like a charm following the club’s 2-1 win over Siwelele, and heaped praise on his goalscoring duo.

“Bantu was perfect,” he said. “This is the Bantu I want to see. He made some great runs, and that’s the Bantu I know, and the Bantu I want to see more of. On Saturday he started with that – the moment you score goals, it becomes hard to overlook you in the team, so that’s important. I’m happy for him because he hadn’t played for a long time, so it’s good for him; it gives him confidence that he can score, he can get in the box.

“And Tassie as well. The effort he makes as a 10 or 9 is incredible. He works so hard, and if you look at his stats, he’s one of the highest and for a number 9, that’s perfect.”

The win over Celtic – just Ajax’s second victory of the season – gives the Urban Warriors temporary respite, yet the Cape club still languish in 13th place on the Absa Premiership table, with Menzo hoping the belief is back within his squad to lift themselves further up the table.

“It’s not about me – it’s about the team,” Menzo said. “I’m responsible, but the team has to do the job. I can do whatever I want, but it’s about the team, and of course, when you lose, you get blamed, but that’s part of the job.

“We want to be seen as a team that can win. I want the players to believe they can win. For that I put a lot of effort in at training, but in the end it’s up to the players over the 90 minutes. And on Saturday they showed it was enough to win a game against a team, who I saw on video beating Cape Town City, were not a bad team.”