In his first official interview since returning to Ajax Cape Town, Sameehg Doutie spoke confidently of what he predicts to be a very successful second half of the 2016-17 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season for the Urban Warriors.
The 27-year-old returned back home to Ikamva this month, following spells with Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and most recently Indian Super League (ISL) side Atlético de Kolkata.
Doutie quickly established himself as a crowd favourite in India; playing a pivotal role in the club winning the ISL last year. The Ajax Cape Town academy graduate was directly involved in 15 goals in 26 appearances for the Atlético Madrid feeder club.
Having starred for the Cape club between 2007 to 2011 (scoring 10 goals in 85 starts), Doutie has now set his sights on leading the Urban Warriors to a top three finish this season.
Ajax Cape Town currently occupy ninth place on the Absa Premiership log standings; seven points behind joint leaders SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City at the halfway mark of the current campaign.
Sameehg, welcome back to Ikamva…
Thank you, back home for six months and hopefully I can help Ajax move up the table. The team has been doing really well in their last couple of games so the aim is obviously to move up into the top three or five – which is still possible because we are only seven points off the pace. It all starts with the first game against Bidvest Wits next week.
You moved to India in 2015, enjoyed two successful seasons in the sub-continent, how would you describe the experience?
There a quality players playing there, only six internationals can play at one time – five Indian players in the starting 11 – so obviously you are as an international competing against other internationals, star players form around the world.
Obviously for me it was a major experience, the crowd there…it was crazy playing in front of 90 000 people, 100 000 people.
You played alongside Portuguese great Helder Postiga is that right?
Yes, he was our marquee player at the club. Diego Forlan, Florent Malouda played there [in India last year], Aaron Hughes who played at the Euro’s for Northern Ireland, so quite a few well-known international players.
Coming back to Cape Town, how has the vibe been? It looks like you are enjoying training? Coach Stanley Menzo has talked really highly about you, and how you are to used the Ajax way of doing things…
I also learned a lot from the coaches that side in the past two years and obviously the way the coach wants us to play is the European way, more specifically the Ajax way.
Yes I grew up here, but I have also picked up during my career how to better my positioning, better my timing – when to press and when to drop back. All those things you learn as you go along, you also gain experience from different coaches. You have to take it all in, learn and use it to your strength.
What do you make of the quality of players currently plying their trade at Ajax Cape Town?
We have a bunch of quality players that can reach even greater heights. That is why I said top three is possible still, top five obviously, which we can push for in the second round of the season.
It is going to take all the players, we have great talent among us, its just that the players have to start believing in themselves, start believing they can do it and anything is possible because the league is still very open.
The Ajax Cape Town fans are very excited to have you back at the club, what can they expect from you over the course of the next few months?
I am home, my family is also here – I have been here all my life. This is a club that groomed me as a youngster, a teenager. I will always have a place for Ajax Cape Town in my heart; that is why I came back home, it wasn’t even a difficult decision.
I just want to do well, lift the club. This club has been lifting trophies throughout the seasons, we have always been fighting at the top end of the table and that mentality has to come back – start believing in Ajax again, the youth structure and in everything else that is good about this club.