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It would be amazing to finish in the top four, says Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker

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

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

Published May 22, 2022

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Cape Town — Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker believes his team have enjoyed “an amazing season” regardless of what may still transpire in the Dstv Premiership.

Stellies finished their 2021/22 campaign on a high with a last-gasp 1-0 victory over neighbours Cape Town City at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday to propel the club to a record 47 points. On the current log, Stellies are placed third but they face an anxious wait to see whether they will indeed qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup due to Royal AM (5th) and Orlando Pirates (7th) still having two and three matches respectively left to complete.

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Royal AM can potentially finish on 51 points, while Pirates can get up to 49 points.

"It puts us in a massive position," Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker said after the match. "Hearing the results from the other teams, I realised how big a win would be for us.

“Obviously other teams still have to play, but [even] if we can finish in the top four, it would really be an amazing season for us."

Barker, who is the longest-serving coach at a single club in the Dstv Premiership, also wished to convey his gratitude to the players that are leaving Stellies.

Goalscorer Scott is among a celebrated list including Robyn Johannes, Waseem Isaacs, Stanley Dimgba, Nathan Sinkala, Sibusiso Mthethwa and Zitha Kwinika that will not be seen in the maroon jersey next season.

"Scotty doesn’t score too many goals, so it was a fitting farewell for him," Barker said. "We wanted to give the guys who are leaving a bit of a swansong and a bit of a run-out.

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"I'm a bit heartsore and sad because of the decisions we've made [to let them leave] but the players can walk with their heads held high because they've left the club in a better place.

"I cannot speak highly enough of what they have done for this club. So as much as we are happy [with the result] we are sad at the same time. They all can continue playing and one or two of them have already got offers around.

"They may come back later as coaches or part of the football club, but sometimes you have to make those decisions and hope you've made the right ones."

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Meanwhile, Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler bemoaned the officiating in the iKapa derby that may now cost his team a place in the lucrative CAF Champions League. City are still in second place on 49 points, but their destiny is now in the hands of others.

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“I think the officiating was horrendous, because first there is no foul, there should never have been a foul, second I think it was offside,” Tinkler said. “And then third, right in the dying… there's no way Mpho Makola’s offside.

“Unfortunately, these things can make a decision for your future, which is unacceptable.

“I’m very proud of my squad, I’m very proud of my players. They’ve worked exceptionally hard this season and they deserved a lot more on the final day. That’s the disappointment for me, is that certain things that have happened this season aren’t in our hands, and it’s not right.”

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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