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Meet the Ajax juggernaut

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Meet the Ajax juggernaut

by Brian Gaffney
14 May 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Franklyn Cale has at times taken a difficult road, filled with the rigours and risks of professional soccer.

But the Ajax Cape Town ace will not be regretting one minute of what has been a daunting yet rewarding journey, if Ajax goes on to win the Premier Soccer League title in the next couple of weeks.

Cale's worth as a goal-scoring midfielder, gifted with a mean punch in either foot, has thus far been highly valued by three consecutive head coaches at Ajax since he made his professional debut in 2004. Ex-coach Gordon Igesund rejoiced at the invaluable contributions of Cale amid all the difficulties he (Igesund) experienced with Ajax.

Igesund's successor Mushin Ertugral was equally elated by the way in which Cale went about wreaking havoc in opposing defences.

A memorable occasion for Cale, of course, was Ajax's 2-0 triumph over Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Cup Final last season. Cale scored the second goal to sink much fancied Sundowns, who were aiming for a league and cup double. Now the 25-year-old midfielder is tipped as one player with the potential to help incumbent coach Craig Rosslee win the league title that has eluded Ajax since its inception in 2001.

"You'll only achieve something in life if you make sacrifices and work hard. Professional soccer is tough... there are no short cuts to success," says Cale, while shaping up for a decisive clash with Santos at Athlone on Thursday night.

Inspiration? His father Harold Williams, who represented the SA Navy soccer side as well as East End United in the Ocean View FA.

Cale's adventurous instincts and gutsiness were prevalent even before he chose to make it big in soccer. During his teens, Cale often found his own way across the Peninsula to represent the Ajax youth teams.

This unenviable task involved a two-hour long trip from his Ocean View home to Ikamva Sportsfield in Parow, where Ajax juniors practice and play home matches.

Cale commuted by taxi or hitched lifts between Ocean View and Fish Hoek, then travelled by train to Salt River, from where he took a taxi to his destination.

Cale's resolve to fulfil his ambitions recently saw him making a determined comeback to the game, after a serious leg fracture kept him on the sidelines for four months. And he has not given up on earning a place in the Bafana Bafana side for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Santos will lose out if they choose to ignore the threat Cale poses in a do-or-die derby showdown: the man is subtle and scything in approach.

The match starts at 19:30 on 15 May.

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