Cape Town - Dutch Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle are happy with the test they got from Santos on Tuesday night as they turn their eyes to Ajax Cape Town this weekend.
Zwolle, who are currently fourth in the Dutch top-flight log and in the country for their winter break, played to a 1-1 draw with National First Division side Santos in Stellenbosch.
They used the training game to give every one of their squad members at least 45 minutes of game time. But on Saturday against Ajax, they are set to play just their first team members.
Zwolle are technical partners to football in the Stellenbosch region and the club along with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) are sharing information with Stellenbosch’s football team, Maties, who campaign in the SAB League (fourth tier). The relationship is aimed at investing in Maties in their bid to become the region’s first professional side in the top level of domestic football.
“We played with two different teams against Santos, one in each half. From a physical aspect it was important to give every player a 45 minute period on the field,” says Zwolle technical director Gerard Nijkamp.
“On Saturday against Ajax Cape Town it will be our first team only.
"Overall we are happy because we got no injuries against Santos and the opponents gave us a good game; they had a positive way of playing and this is important for us during our training camp.”
Zwolle started the game well and created a few efforts on goal, but Santos goalkeeper, Keenon Blignaut, was able to stop the visitors on two occasions.
Zwolle went into the lead at the half hour mark through midfielder Ben Rienstra from close range. Santos levelled through Edwin Sitatitayi.
Stellenbosch is becoming a preferred choice for training camps due to their world-class infrastructure that consists of two stadiums, a high performance centre, a full-size astro-turf field, and all the University’s facilities.
(Picture © InnovUS/ForwardZone | Adrian Baillie-Stewart)