Stellenbosch FC players must do homework during coronavirus lockdown
CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker feels his team has produced some really good performances so far in the PSL, with the “best win of all” being the 4-1 victory over Highlands Park.
“The 1-0 wins lately at home over Baroka FC, SuperSport United and Polokwane City showed our strong mentality and characteristics of being difficult to beat. Orlando Pirates found that out on their visit to the Mother City when we beat them 1-0 at Cape Town Stadium in the first round. But the best win of all was the 4-1 result in November away to Highlands Park; we played with intelligence, technical quality and took our chances well,” said Barker.
Stellies needed that three-pointer to ease their plight at the wrong end of the league standings after starting 2020 with back-to-back home defeats to Bloemfontein Celtic and Wits. And they went on to win their next two fixtures to record a hat-trick of victories the first time and strengthen their chances of holding onto their top-flight status. “But we’ve also played poorly at times, like against AmaZulu,” added Barker. “That was our worst performance on the road losing 2-0 in November; we were poor in all areas unfortunately.”
Barker had set his team a pre-season target of ending the campaign on 33 points feeling that would be enough to survive the relegation, and as things stand, a further six points are required from their final six matches to reach the mark, four of which will be played at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
Back-to-back defeats to defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns (1-0) and Maritzburg United (3-0) before the league was postponed due to the coronavirus hasn’t helped the Winelands-based team’s cause, but with four home games to come, the odds favour Stellies to avoid the relegation scrap that will see a number of strugglers slug it out to avoid bottom spot and automatic relegation. Stellenbosch are currently in 11th place on the standings with 27 points, seven clear of bottom-placed Black Leopards.
“Danie Craven Stadium is close to home for us and our supporters will come out in big numbers to roar us on,” Barker said. “It’s a nice venue that suits us and we aim to make these games count in our favour.”
Barker confirmed yesterday that his players have been sent home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday that comes into effect tonight.
“The boys will be at home and we’ve given them lots of homework to do over the next 21 days to keep them active during this challenging time for all the people of the Rainbow Nation,” he said.
Mike de Bruyn