Stellies hope to use City as a springboard

Eric Tinkler. | BackpagePix

Eric Tinkler. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 5, 2024



Fifth-placed Stellenbosch FC will have their eye on Cape Town City’s second place on the DStv Premiership log when they run out in tonight’s derby at the Cape Town Stadium.

Stellies, on 28 points, are looking to complete a Premiership double over City after their slender 1-0 win at the end of last year. If they achieve that objective they will make headway up the standings, possibly one or two places.

The Winelands outfit, under the guidance of coach Steve Barker, is on a nine-match unbeaten run in the Premiership and last suffered defeat in September – a 3-1 loss against Mamelodi Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Eric Tinkler. | BackpagePix

Barker is excited about the prospect of playing neighbours City because it gives them a chance to cement a place in the upper echelons of the Premiership log. Today’s derby is the first of two Stellenbosch will be playing this week – they will host Parow neighbours Cape Town Spurs on Saturday evening.

“This is an exciting week for us because we will play two derbies four days apart,” said Barker.

“It is not often that we get to play back-to-back derbies, so there are bragging rights up for grabs on two fronts. It is a great opportunity to make great strides in the Premiership and so there is a lot to play for.

“For us, the second position on the log is a possibility but City is a quality team, hence their position on the log.”

Last weekend, 10-man Stellenbosch salvaged a 1-1 draw against Chippa United, and Barker was pleased that his side held out despite the numerical second-half disadvantage.

“We’re starting to show that resilience and it’s time now from Tuesday onwards, against Cape Town City, that we get back to playing better and with more quality, and that we start asking more questions,” said Barker.

“There is a bit of work to be done before that match but it’s a well-earned point for us against Chippa United considering what happened.”

Khanyisa Mayo of Cape Town City. | BackpagePix

Much like Stellenbosch, City are on a run of two consecutive stalemates following 1-1 results against Chippa United and SuperSport United. City have only managed one win in their last five outings and registered three draws and one defeat during this period.

City coach Eric Tinkler was rudely surprised in their last outing four days ago after SuperSport stole a point with an equaliser deep into injury-time.

“If we won, we could have created a small little gap between ourselves and them (third-placed SuperSport) and potentially Stellenbosch,” said Tinkler.

Antonio van Wyk of Stellenbosch. | BackpagePix

The key player for City will be striker Khanyisa Mayo, who has been blowing and cold this season. With nine league goals to his name so far this season, Mayo remains the point of reference in attack for City. The elusive forward will hope to continue his positive goalscoring form of late after getting his name on the scoresheet against SuperSport last week.

The crafty winger, Antonio van Wyk has emerged as a key player for Stellenbosch. He has become an integral component in Barker’s midfield set-up.

City will be wary of Van Wyk’s ability to make things happen on the edge of the 18-yard area. He managed to get his name on the scoresheet in Stellenbosch’s most recent tie against Chippa.

Yesterday, Stellenbosch announced a partnership with Mitre South Africa, who will become the official ball supplier of the club.