New additions have given us confidence, says Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker
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Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker believes the club’s new signings have played an instrumental part in their positive start to the new season ahead of Saturday’s clash against Chippa United.
After enduring a traumatic period towards the end of last season when Stellies finished just one place above the relegation zone, the winelands outfit have turned around their fortunes in the new campaign to remain unbeaten after four matches.
This run includes an exciting 2-2 draw away to Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and last weekend’s comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of neighbours Cape Town City in the eKapa derby.
Stellies have been particularly clinical in-front of goal with Barker’s team currently having bulged the net the most times in the league. New front men Waseem Isaacs and Judas Moseamedi have played a big part in addressing an issue that hampered Stellies’ progress last season.
“I think the additions to our squad has also given us that confidence and boost, players like Waseem Isaacs, that's already on the scoreboard, and Judas who already has three goals, and Ashley du Preez playing with a lot more freedom and perhaps less pressure, and then there are players like Junior Mendietta and Stanley Digmba using their qualities to create the opportunities that they are. If we can continue to do that, then we can continue,” Barker said.
“I think though there were signs already last season that the team was capable of doing what they currently are doing. There were just one or two areas that we needed to be better at, and that was taking our chances like we have been, and also eliminating individual errors.To have the start that we have had is testimony to the good work we have put in during pre-season and the commitment and positive attitude that the players are displaying.”
Stellies have a chance to maintain their unbeaten streak, which stretches to eight matches now with the final four games of last season included, when they host Chippa United at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday (5pm start).
It will be a tricky fixture for the visitors who are enjoying a similar resurgence under new coach Gavin Hunt, with the Eastern Cape team showing much better structure in their play than last season when they were forced to negotiate the relegation playoffs to preserve their Dstv Premiership status.
“If we want to have a successful season then we must make our home ground a difficult place to come to,” Barker said. “But Chippa have also strengthened their squad significantly. They have had some good additions to their team.
“They have quality players and playing against Gavin Hunt's teams’ are never easy. They will always be well organized and will put you under pressure and they are compact. It will be an entirely different game than against Cape Town City. It's still early days and we must work hard and remain humble.”