CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC are finding ways to live without an experienced trio of players and are keen to continue their positive start to the season, says coach Steve Barker.
The winelands outfit have picked up four valuable points through a 2-2 draw away to Orlando Pirates and a 1-0 home win over TS Galaxy to propel them to the summit of the league table. Robyn Johannes, Granwald Scott and Allen Robertson are still on the sidelines after the two-week Fifa international break, and will not be available for Saturday’s clash against Sekhukhune United at Ellis Park.
"It's always good to get off to a positive start. We're happy with the start that we've had. It is always nice to play again after a win, but we are used to the league having these types of breaks, so we often use it as an opportunity to work on areas that we can still be better at," Barker said.
"Unfortunately Robyn, Granwald and Allen are still carrying knocks and injuries and will not be available for this Sekhukhune game. They are obviously players that have great experience, so when you don't have that experience, you do feel it. But it also allows some other players to take greater leadership roles in the team. It is always a blow. We're not a team with huge numbers and a big squad, so when there are injuries it does affect us. But we believe we have enough depth in each position that when players are injured we can still be competitive to achieve what we want to achieve."
Stellenbosch will, however, welcome back Solly Khunyedi and Marc van Heerden back into the ranks, and they will certainly need them against the Premiership newbies Sekhukhune, who are also fresh off a maiden Dstv Premiership win over Maritzburg United.
They also come off a positive result against Maritzburg, so I am sure they are also confident of getting a result against us. So, we need to prepare well," Barker added.
"They are a bit of an unknown quantity, but we have been able to get footage of their previous matches. We have analysed them. They seem to be very well organised defensively, good structure. They seem to be a difficult team to break down. But while it is important to know what the opposition are capable of doing, but it is important that we need to know how we want to play. We are looking to continue with the good form that we have shown. It is another big opportunity for us to continue progressing as a team. We are looking forward to the encounter."
Meanwhile, Sekhukhune have bolstered their squad with the addition of defender Nyiko Mobbie and Brandon Seth Parusnath from Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows respectively.
Mobbie, 26, will be able to share valuable knowledge with his team after spending the 2019-20 season on loan at Stellenbosch.