CAPE TOWN – The jump from the National First Division (NFD) to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is not an easy one, but rookies Stellenbosch FC are determined to make an impact when they make their top-flight debut against Chippa United at Coetzenburg Stadium on August 3.
Shortly after winning the NFD title to secure automatic promotion to the PSL, Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker was adamant there wouldn’t be too many changes to the squad. He said he had a lot of promising youngsters in the team and he wanted to allow them the opportunity to continue their progress at a higher level of football.
He did, however, add that he wanted to bring in some experience in certain areas, which is why the Cape Winelands club announced on Thursday that they had signed Dutch goalkeeper Boy de Jong.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper has played for Feyenoord, Excelsior, PEC Zwolle, Telstar and Anderlecht. Not only will he beef up the goalkeeping department for Stellenbosch, but his European experience will be an influential factor.
Stellenbosch have followed neighbours Cape Town City in this regard, in that Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh was brilliant for the Citizens in last season’s PSL campaign.
Over the last few weeks, Stellenbosch have also added players like Dillian Solomons, Zimo Brenner and Waseem Isaacs to their squad.
Solomons, from Steenberg on the Cape Flats, played for Durban-based Royal Eagles in the NFD last season, while Brenner and Isaacs were signed from Ubuntu Cape Town.
Isaacs was the second-highest goalscorer in the NFD last season, where the top marksman was Stellenbosch’s Iqram Rayners.
With two deadly strikers in the squad, Barker will be confident his team can get among the goals if they can get the right service to their frontmen, Rayners and Isaacs.
Barker also confirmed that former SuperSport and Kaizer Chiefs central defender Morgan Gould has been training with Stellenbosch. If things go according to plan, Stellenbosch were hoping to add the experienced 36-year-old to their squad.
Because Stellenbosch have such a young, inexperienced group of players, Gould will be important, not just for his on-field composure and leadership but also for his advice and guidance in the dressing-room.
This is the second time Barker has inspired a team to promotion to the PSL – he did so with the University of Pretoria in 2012 – and he will have a fair idea of what is needed to cope in the top-flight.
African News Agency (ANA)