Stellies’ performance stuns coach Barker

Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC scored against SuperSport United. | BackpagePix

Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC scored against SuperSport United. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 15, 2024



A youthful Stellenbosch side underlined their growing status as a feared combination following a performance that left their coach Steve Barker in awe.

Stellenbosch defeated SuperSport United 4-0 in a Nedbank Cup quarter-final at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC scored against SuperSport United. | BackpagePix

The maturity of the Stellenbosch side, which has an average age of 26 and included several under-23 players, blew Barker away. At one stage of the post-match interview, it seemed Barker was at a loss for words.

SuperSport, with an average age of 29, were under siege from the enterprising Stellenbosch side straight after half-time. SuperSport’s rearguard failed to cope and their defence leaked three goals in the space of 15 minutes.

“When I look at a performance like this and then defeating a team of SuperSport United’s calibre left me in awe. Given SuperSport’s experienced and quality players which they had on the pitch at the start, and to score four goals and not concede, I don’t think enough credit is given to these players,” said Barker.

“These players have gone 21 games unbeaten now, with 16 wins. We’ve scored 40 goals and conceded 10, so they deserve to be in another semi-final, the fourth semi-final in a row, so I’m really, really proud of these players.”

With this outcome, Stellenbosch have advanced to a second consecutive Nedbank Cup semi-final and fourth consecutive cup semi-final across all domestic competitions.

Stellenbosch’s second-half goal rush was a work of art as the team’s front runners either scored or provided the assists with defence-piercing passes. It was the quality of the assists as the side worked its way into the striking zone that left Barker in awe – and the SuperSport defence distraught.

During their scoring spree, players made informed tactical decisions.

“This was one of the games since I’ve been at this football club that I can look back and say this team has matured. They have grown and developed. We didn’t just show fighting quality but also quality with the ball.

“Some of the play and some of the goals we created, and some of the goals we could have scored, left me in awe with the quality that I saw.”

Over the next few days they will return to Premiership action. They are chasing the runners-up spot in the DStv Premiership with eight games to go and runaway log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns seemingly unassailable.

“We’ll wait to see what the (semi-final) draw holds for us and then deal with that. We will concentrate on the league fixtures until the semi-final,” said Barker.

“Next week we are away to Sekhukhune United, followed by a game in Mbombela against TS Galaxy. Those are two really tough away games against two teams that are in really good form.”

The 4-0 defeat was the heaviest for SuperSport in over a decade. It was also the first time that coach Gavin Hunt had lost by that margin in a cup tie.

Hunt said his side failed to adapt to the spoiling conditions at the windy Danie Craven Stadium and paid the price.

“We just couldn’t get into the game. We didn’t adapt to the conditions,” said Hunt.

“And, you know, we went behind at the wrong times; early in the match and then straight after half-time, which killed it for us.”