Can Stellenbosch FC keep derby run going against Cape Town Spurs?

Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker

FILE - Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 8, 2024


Stellenbosch FC’s mantra of ‘we don’t lose derbies’ has helped the club forge a winning culture when opposing cross-town rivals.

The mantra will be put to the test for the second time in four days tomorrow evening when Stellenbosch host the ever-proving Cape Town Spurs at the Danie Craven Stadium (5.30pm kick-off).

“We don’t lose derbies” was the retort from the Stellenbosch camp after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Cape Town City at the Cape Town Stadium.

Stellenbosch’s exhilarating frontfoot football earned them a second Premiership win over City this season, after their victory in Stellenbosch in December, with Devin Titus grabbing the winner this time around.

Stellenbosch tactician Steve Barker has now set their sights on tomorrow’s derby against Spurs, and savours the prospect of a second Cape double.

“We have a mantra at the club that we don’t lose derbies, so we try to stick to that and give extra where we can,” said Barker.

“Spurs have shown good form, having won their game against TS Galaxy last Sunday and then had a tough game away to Orlando Pirates.

“Spurs will have one day less to recover (after their Wednesday match), and we need to utilise a little bit of that extra time to rest well.

“The plan would be to put up the best team that we believe can win the game on Saturday and put in a match-winning performance.

“The win against Cape Town City has set us up to go on Saturday.

“It will give us confidence and belief that we will go out there and play with a good, positive attitude.

“We got six points from City, and we beat Spurs already. Imagine getting three points from Spurs? That’s a haul of 12 points (from derbies). I think that will be massive.”

The ever-improving Spurs warmed up for their Stellenbosch clash with a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

The hugely satisfying outcome for Spurs prompted their German coach Ernst Middendorp to declare: “We are definitely on our journey in chasing something impossible.”

The hard-fought draw allowed

Spurs to continue their incredible momentum as they have now collected seven points from a possible nine in their last three Premiership fixtures. They are just two points away from 15th-placed Richards Bay in the relegation zone.

“We now have in three games the points we were looking for to put the lights on in the basement,” said Middendorp.

“As I said before the game, it is our job as the technical team not to allow players to go into a comfort zone. We must not fall into a comfort zone. If we do so, then you will be destroying your potential. That would not be the right way.

“We’re very happy, and in three days we’ll have our next challenge with Stellenbosch.”

In the past few weeks, Middendorp has cast his recruitment net far and wide, and his new-look squad of youngsters and seasoned veterans has started to gel.

One of the new players is Tanzanian Gabriel Kamagi, who scored the second-half equaliser against Pirates.

“It has been very difficult for us because it is a very young team. You can expect it from 21-22-year-olds, but they do listen,” said Middendorp.

“They transfer ideas into the game. They do not jump out to open spaces, particularly centrally.

“They wait for the right moment. It’s really about doing the right stuff in the right moment and with the right timing, and this team’s chemistry is good.”

IOL Sport