Stellenbosch FC fighting fatigue factor ahead of Mbombela clash against TS Galaxy

Anicet Oura, seen here controlling the ball against Sekhukhune United, scored the only goal for Stellenbosch FC on Wednesday night. Photo: BackpagePix

Anicet Oura, seen here controlling the ball against Sekhukhune United, scored the only goal for Stellenbosch FC on Wednesday night. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 19, 2024


Stellenbosch FC and Sekhukhune United have both been fluffing their lines as they look to consolidate their claims for a CAF berth at the top of the DStv Premiership log.

For the second time in 11 days on Wednesday night, Stellenbosch and Sekhukhune met in the Premiership, and each time the matches ended in stalemates.

The two draws, however, allowed the two teams to hog the upper berths of the log.

As it turns out, Stellenbosch and Sekhukhune, along with runaway log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, are the only teams that have not tasted defeat in their last five Premiership matches.

Since losing a league match against leaders Sundowns at the end of September last year, Stellenbosch commendably won 14 matches and drew eight in the Premiership and cup competitions (Carling Knockout Cup and Nedbank Cup).

This glorious run has been one of the great success stories of the season, and Stellenbosch have started to open a gap between themselves and the chasing pack for a Champions League berth next season.

On Wednesday evening at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Stellenbosch came within a whisker of pulling off a win, but Sekhukhune thwarted their victory bid with a goal four minutes before the final whistle.

Anicet Oura opened the scoring for the Cape side in the 40th minute, but Chibuike Ohizu grabbed a point for Sekhukhune with the late equaliser.

“We seem to draw a lot against Sekhukhune, but it’s not a bad point to get away from home, especially with another big away game coming on Sunday against TS Galaxy in Mbombela (5.30pm kick-off),” said Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker.

“These two games away were always going to be a big challenge for us, so if we can come away from them with some points – hopefully with three points against Galaxy – would put us in a strong position.

“We need to regenerate and rejuvenate physically and mentally over the next couple of days before we travel for that (Galaxy) game.”

Last weekend, Stellenbosch played a Nedbank Cup match against SuperSport United, which they won 4-0, and Barker felt his charges were battling with the workload of playing every six days recently.

“This was our second game in four days, and I thought we looked a little bit fatigued in the last 15 to 20 minutes,” said Barker.

“It was just a matter of trying to hold out until the end, which we unfortunately didn’t.

“Credit to Sekhukhune, because they threw caution to the wind and had numbers forward. They played with a lot of energy.

“In the second half, they changed their game plan and made a couple of subs. They went man-on-man in midfield and threw numbers forward.

“We had a chance from a goalmouth scramble, and if that went over the line, it’s a 2-0 game, which would have made it more difficult for them – but it wasn’t to be.”

After Wednesday’s draw, Sekhukhune are fourth on the log with 36 points and second-placed Stellenbosch have 40 points after 23 matches.

This means that Sundowns (53) are just three wins away from confirming their title defence.

A total of 62 points would place Sundowns in an unassailable position, since Stellenbosch are unable to finish with more than 61 points should they win their remaining seven matches.