Steve Barker spent two seasons at AmaZulu before being given the boot in 2016. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker is looking forward to mixing it with his former club AmaZulu FC, who fired him after he saved them from relegation from the PSL three years ago.

The teams lock horns tonight at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu and both camps are eyeing a hat-trick of league wins.

Stellies registered their first win with a 2-0 away victory over Polokwane City before their surprising 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates at the Cape Town Stadium, while Durban-based AmaZulu broke their winless run with a 2-1 home victory over struggling Cape Town City before seeing off Baroka FC on the road.

Barker spent two seasons at AmaZulu before being given the boot in 2016. The 51-year-old was snapped up by Stellies and last season guided them to promotion. Now the chance has come for Barker to show up his former employers and net a second three-pointer on the road.

“Look, AmaZulu are always tough nuts to crack on their home ground. They also have a top-class finisher in Bongi Ntuli who I know from my days with the club. We brought him in from Mamelodi Sundowns on loan and at a time when we were fighting to hold onto our top-tier status and he scored six goals in 12 games to help our cause.

“Now this season he’s netted all of their five goals, so a big threat for us at the back and I’ve told my defenders to keep an eye on him when he’s got the ball anywhere close to our final third,” said Barker.

“But we have come on in leaps and bounds as shown by our four-game unbeaten run and two clean sheets in a row. The lads have been working hard, they’re all pulling for one another, they all know this is a big game in terms of our goal which is to cement our place in the division, so we feel good about our chances. The win over Orlando Pirates last time out was massive for us, we showed we are a side that can hold its own.”

Meanwhile, City begin life without former coach Benni McCarthy with a home tie against Polokwane City at the Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm). Vasili Manousakis is the interim head coach. The Citizens, as defending champions of the MTN8 title, lost 2-0 to Rise and Shine in the quarter-finals, so will want to set the record straight.

Mike de Bruyn

 

Cape Times

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