When Ajax Cape Town announced the signing of Eleazer Rodgers at the begining of the season, many described the move as “the last kick of a dying horse” as it has been a norm in the past when big name players leave a top division team late in their careers to join a lower division side.
But for the Kuils River-born striker, the move was more of an attempt to help resuscitate one of Cape Town’s most glorified football clubs in Ajax Cape Town and he is well on course to deliver as he has scored 7 goals and chipped in a few assists in trying to get the Urban Warriors back into the Premiership.
“Honestly, when I joined Ajax, I didn’t really know what to expect. And I think at that time it was way to early to have a picture of us being on top of the log with 7 games to go, you know.
“Obviously we had a plan and we set the goals, and I think the vision for myself even when I joined was to help the team to win promotion and I guess that was the same with the coaches as well as the bosses of Ajax and the players who were there because last season they fell short just 1 point off the playoffs,” Rodgers explained to FARPost.
“They had a good run you know, so the hopes and the stakes were high for this season to do something. I’m glad that we are in this position that we are right now.
“Few games left, 6 games left actually and 7 points clear I think our destiny is in our hands at this time. So we’re just excited to finish the League and hopefully we can secure promotion,” continued Rodgers.
The country has been on national lockdown since the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic which also led to the PSL suspending all Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship games indefinitely.
But the former Santos star says though it’s been weird training alone as compared to training with the rest of his teammates, he remains focused and disciplined during the difficult period.
“I’ve been coping well during the lockdown. It has been very, let me say unplanned situation. Life threw at us a curved ball, and now we just have to deal with that with our hands tied. I focus on doing some training, fortunately for me I have enough space, well not enough but basic amount of space to try and do some basic drills.
“We have been given a programme to do and I’ve been making use of that space to be able to do that and I’ve been keeping busy with my training schedule and also using the online platform to connect with various people from all sorts of places. Some people at Church, you know… Some are just friends and also Bible study and also family for that matter. I think this time has been good like in terms of connecting with everyone, having a bit of self reflection you know and focusing on things other than football ” Rodgers stated.
Things have been looking pretty good for Ajax this season despite former Dutch coach Andries Ulderink resigning midway into the season but Rodgers says they had to remain focused on the job at hand, while picking up vital points away from home from which led to the Cape side opening a healthy 7 point lead at the top of the GladAfrica Championship ahead of 2nd placed Swallows FC table with 6 games to go.
“In most cases when the coach leaves a team it does have a negative effect on the team or the perfomance of the players and that goes along with a new coach coming in, you know. But for us I think we were very suprised but we were not in a position where we never knew what was happening and what was going on.
“It came as a big suprise that the coach resigned, but as a team we spoke about it and we continued to encourage each other knowing that the position we were in was not a fluke but it was our hard work. The fact that he was gone doesn’t mean now we must just give up, we can still play on behalf of him and on behalf of ourselves, the Ajax badge you know.
“We had to remain focused and I must say, to be honest that his resignation did impact us. We all felt for him and for us, especially at that time of the season it was a very good time for us but we also understand that things happen in life,” Rodgers added.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) confirmed that it will continue its suspension of matches until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
And there has been different calls and views from different people from the football fratenity to either suspend the season completely and start from scratch next seaso .
But what does Eleazer Rodgers say?
“I definitely think that the League should resume. Even if it is to continue behind closed doors, I think it’s more important to finish the remaining games,” he concluded.
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By Shane Matsoyane