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Stellenbosch FC need to make sure their defence is solid for Mamelodi Sundowns test, says Sibusiso Mthethwa

Sibusiso Mthethwa of Stellenbosch FC during the DStv Premiership against Royal AM. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Sibusiso Mthethwa of Stellenbosch FC during the DStv Premiership against Royal AM. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Dec 2, 2021


Cape Town - Sibusiso Mthethwa knows all about how tough it is to survive in the Dstv Premiership.

The experienced central defender was previously relegated with Tuks University and then joined Platinum Stars before joining Stellenbosch FC in the National First Division back in 2017-18.

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It has been a long journey with Stellies since, having navigated through the rigours of the Glad African Championship, and then surviving another tense PSL relegation battle last season.

Mthethwa therefore can almost pinch himself when he looks up at the PSL table and sees Stellenbosch in exalted company despite consecutive defeats in their last two games that has seen them drop to fourth place from their previous second position.

"We have fought this season. We were No 2 on the table and its such a good feeling to see Stellenbosch in that position competing with big teams such as Mamelodi Sundowns. It's a good feeling," Mthethwa said.

"It was all hard work and going 11 games without a defeat it was a great thing to achieve as a team because we know we needed to be better. This season our ambition was to give it our all and not wait until the end like we did last season."

The 30-year-old knows Stellenbosch cannot keep looking back though. They have two tough encounters against teams from the nation's capital, Sundowns and SuperSport United, prior to the festive break.

The first clash against the unbeaten Sundowns is a particularly challenging one and Mthethwa expects a "long night" at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday evening due to the class the Brazilians possess all over the field.

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But being at the heart of the defence with Alan Robertson, he ensured the Stellenbosch supporters that they will put their bodies on the line and eradicate the silly errors that has marred the previous two matches.

"Going into the match on Saturday at home against Sundowns we know it's not going to be an easy game and we will fight. It's a crucial game and we know that we need to be better, particularly in defence and especially against Royal AM first half we were solid, but second half we were disjointed," he said.

"But we need to keep going and know we can do it against Sundowns. They haven't been beaten yet and they are on top. The motivation is to be better than last season. We were fighting relegation and we were fighting for every point.

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"It is s not going to be an easy one. They are a great team. They can move the ball around. They don't change their style of play. They stick to their plans. Its going to be a long night

"But we shall fight every battle and we will overcome the challenge. Its one of those games where we need to take our game to the highest level. Sundowns have not been beaten this season."

Stellenbosch's task may be made a touch easier due the Brazilians currently experiencing a bit of a health crisis at the moment with Sphelele Mkhulise ruled out through "flu-like" symptoms.

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Influential midfielder Rivaldo Coetzee is only starting to make his comeback from a muscle contusion after coming on as a 89th minute substitute in the last game against Sekhukhune United, while Lebohang Maboe is still on the mend after his knee surgery in August.