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It was a massive day for the club, says Stellies’ Steve Barker after hammering Sundowns

FILE - Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

FILE - Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2022

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Cape Town — The potent guile and flair of two homespun products Ashley du Preez and Jayden Adams allowed Stellenbosch FC to turn the form book inside out and hand DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday.

Handing Sundowns a hiding in their backyard crowned a glorious day for the club which has its roots deep in the traditional rugby-mad Winelands. Earlier in the day, Stellenbosch claimed the DStv Diski Challenge championship and that bodes well for the future of the club.

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Ever since its inception, the club has drawn huge support from Idas Valley which over the years had its fair share of socio-economic problems. However, Idas Valley have over the years unearthed its fair share of talented sportsmen and striker Du Preez and midfielder Jayden Adams are the latest to alert the football fraternity to their sublime football talents.

Du Preez scored twice and Adams the other and neither were handed the goals on a platter. Both called on their natural talent to crack the hitherto miserly Sundowns defence.

Coach Steve Barker, who has been at the helm at Stellenbosch since 2017, was overwhelmed by the feats of the club on Saturday. He was near speechless as he spoke about the unbridled talents of the two goalscorers and the championship effort of the Diski team.

"This has been a massive day for the football club," said Barker, the nephew of former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker. "We have just seen the DStv Diski Challenge team crowned champions and then we came here and beat the champions.

"To put the overall performances in true perspective, credit must go to everyone in the structure. We can start with the management, right through the whole club. The players, I thought, put out a good performance.

"It was brilliant the way Du Preez took his chances. He is difficult to play against because once you allow him space behind (the defence) to attack, he is dangerous.

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"We knew Sundowns that play a high line and push numbers. The plan was to get in behind and that worked today. Massive credit must go to Ashley for taking those two goals.

"It's a goal also of great quality by Adams. He showed great vision.

"Here we have two youngsters scoring three goals against Sundowns. Both come from Idas Valley in Stellenbosch. It was just a great day for this football club."

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Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena said afterwards it was a humbling result but the team will move once it was identified the reasons for the heavy defeat. It was their first home defeat this season.

“We lose as a team we win as a team,” said Mokwena. “We are very bad losers in this team. But we’ll get there. We will take it and analyze it and check our mistakes.”

Mokwena felt the team should now focus on next week's fixture in Durban against John Maduka’s third-placed Royal AM.

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Stellies wrap up their season with a Mother City derby against Cape Town City in the Winelands. A win for Stellies could result in both clubs landing CAF berths next season.

“It will be a very difficult one,” said Mokwena. "It is good that we got this one defeat which says ‘wakey-wakey, you’re not invincible.

“So we take it and move on to two very important things. It’s important to finish the season well with a winning feeling. Next, it will be to go on to the Nedbank Cup final and lift the trophy and give it to this deserving club."

Stellenbosch will end their season with a Mother City derby against Cape Town City. If Stellies win, Cape Town will likely have two teams playing in CAF competitions next season.

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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