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Spirited Stellenbosch FC hot on the trail of a top-three finish

Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker

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

Published May 2, 2022

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Cape Town — The jockeying for the season-ending log positions has heated up, and Stellenbosch FC can steal a march on their rivals by defeating SuperSport United in their DStv Premiership clash at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville, on Tuesday (start 5pm).

Stellenbosch are presently in sixth position, and a victory could see them leapfrog past the Soweto teams Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs into fourth place.

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SuperSport, on the other hand, are hovering on the fringe of the Top 8 zone in eighth place and a victory on Tuesday could see them replace Stellenbosch in sixth place.

Since SuperSport have parted ways with coach Kaitano Tembo, the team has had an unbeaten two-match run under interim coach Andre Arendse, who steered the side to a win over Chiefs and a draw against Marumo Gallants.

In their first league meeting this season, the visiting SuperSport emerged 1-0 victors at the Danie Craven Stadium in early December. SuperSport will do well to repeat this scoreline but the Stellenbosch side has shown tremendous improvement since then.

The other stand-out aspect of Arendse's stint is that the team kept clean sheets in both matches. This was a far cry from the poor defence which leaked eight goals in their previous four matches. Arendse, however, feels his charges must not get carried away by their change of fortunes.

"We mustn't get carried away with ourselves," said Arendse. "The Kaizer Chiefs three points was huge for us, so it was not our Divine right to come out here and think we have three points in the bag.

"A very big positive was to keep two clean sheets in a row. I think that's important. We're always telling our players, 'you keep clean sheets you don't lose games’, and that's the truth."

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Stellies have enjoyed a terrific run in their last 10 league matches and suffered only two defeats. They are holding out hopes of a top-three finish.

Coach Steve Barker says the team is still on a high after success against Chiefs. He feels the team will be starting from scratch for the trip to Atteridgeville.

"Important that we get back to zero and there are still four games left," said Barker. "The top eight is still our priority. I believe we're probably one win away from securing that and if we can and still have two of three matches left then we can even try push for higher honours."

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SuperSport's Thamsanqa Gabuza, the 34-year-old striker remains the team's main threat in front of goal despite his advancing years and is one ahead of teammate Ghampani Lungu on the scoring charts.

Midfielder Jesse Donn has become a vital cog in midfield for Matsatsantsa, having made 20 starts in the league and missing just three games all season. He also has a penchant for scoring goals and netted his first two goals for the club earlier this year against Maritzburg United and AmaZulu.

The Stellenbosch danger man will be Judas Moseamedi who is improving with every outing. The 28-year-old striker linked up well with Ashley Du Preez in the attack against Chiefs.

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He plays a vital role as a linkman in the team's approach work and provided the assist for Dean van Rooyen's opener against Chiefs. Moseamedi almost got on the scoresheet himself in the second half after running through on goal, but he was unable to beat the keeper for what would have been his sixth goal of the campaign.

Young Ibraheem Jabaar, the 19-year-old midfielder is enjoying an outstanding second season for Stellies. He has already racked up 24 appearances and Barker believes he is in line to win the Young Player of the Season award in the DStv Premiership.

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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