Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral says the contributions made by the team’s senior players were to key to the club’s survival.
The Urban Warriors beat Golden Arrows 3-0 at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday, to ensure a 14th place finish, escaping the play-offs by three points.
“The older players had been neglected, the younger players were playing a lot," Ertugral said after the game.
"The experienced players were not able to give their input. You could see today we used nearly all the experienced guys, we left the youngsters out, because we knew it was going to be tough.
"Football is mental. Yesterday’s good players can’t be bad. The whole management, everyone here, and the Ajax Amsterdam contingent need to sit down.
"We can't have this situation again. I don’t have a magic stick, I just worked on the mental state."
Ertugral proved to be the catalyst in the Cape side’s late escape, securing two victories and two draws since taking over from Jan Versleijen a month ago.
The Turk said his main challenge upon joining the club was to change the mindsets of the players, turning to senior players such as Matthew Booth, Nhlanhla Shabalala and Lance Davids, who all led by example in the closing weeks of the season.
Arrows coach Manqoba Mngqithi, meanwhile, was happy to see his side also managing to finish the season outside the relegation zone and said he was looking forward to plotting for the next campaign.
“I think it's always a nightmare for any team to be involved in the play-offs or to be relegated to the National First Division because the level is very different and economically there is always a big challenge for the teams to come up if they do not have the financial muscle," Mngqithi said.
"When you have taken a team mid-season you want to do well, but you also want to start your own thing, to build something. So now I can look ahead to next season and see what we can instil in this team."