Steve Barker, the mentor of Stellenbosch FC, is feeling positive about their match against Leopards. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky BackpagePix
Steve Barker, the mentor of Stellenbosch FC, is feeling positive about their match against Leopards. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky BackpagePix

Stellies believe they can beat Leopards

By Mike de Bruyn Time of article published Sep 20, 2019

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CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC get another chance to bag their first Premiership victory when they host fellow strugglers Black Leopards at Athlone Stadium tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

The Winelands-based club is yet to win a match after five outings.

But their coach Steve Barker is adamant his charges will turn the corner and sees Leopards as the perfect prey for that to happen.

The Limpopo-based side will arrive in the Mother City with a new coach after Lionel Soccoia was sacked earlier in the week after the derby defeat to Baroka FC.

Lidoda Duvha have tasted success once in five games beating Maritzburg United.

“I feel good about our chances of beating Leopards,” said Barker. “We’ve shown improvement in every game and the boys are ready to step up to the plate and deliver a commanding performance on home soil.

It would be a massive boost to the players’ confidence if they were to come out on top knowing the pressure is on them to get that first win under our belt.”

If you look at Stellies’ returns in their first season in the top flight, it doesn’t make for happy reading. Two draws and three losses have been registered to go with one goal scored by striker Waseem Isaacs on debut, plus an own goal picked up away to Wits.

Last time out away against Bloemfontein Celtic, Barker’s boys went 1-0 up thanks to Isaacs’ strike but then conceded two second-half goals in as many minutes, one through poor set-piece defending.

“We have to stay concentrated, protecting our line at corners and free-kicks,” Barker said. “We also have to be aware of what’s happening around us when in our half. But, when I look at how we’ve gone about our business, there are promising signs, lot’s to be chuffed about.

“We must, however, be more clinical in the score zone, turn chances into goals,” he added. “Our strikers need to start finding their feet. But It was good for Waseem to have one goal in one start, I thought he had a really good game against Celtic. He’s not an easy striker to play against, he’s got size, he’s strong, he holds the ball up well, he’s aerially good and strong on both feet. So he has got all the attributes of being a top-class striker.”

For the former Unbuntu Cape Town marksman to fire along with fellow forwards Ryan Moon and Iqraam Rayners requires quality ball being fed to them by Barker’s playmakers, in the middle and out wide.

Jarrod Moroole and Nkanyiso Zungu called the shots in midfield against Celtic while Nyiko Mobbie and Lelethu Skelm were the wingers. The foursome would also want to get their names onto the score-sheet.

Meanwhile, 10th-placed Cape Town City will look to end a three-game winless run when they entertain eighth-placed Golden Arrows at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday (3pm kick-off).

The Citizens have won one of their five league games while Abafana Bes’thende have recorded two victories from the same number of games.

Mike de Bruyn

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