How Stellenbosch FC respond after being mauled 4-0 by Kaizer Chiefs will go a long way in determining whether they survive their first season in the Premiership.
The Winelands-based team were outclassed in all departments by a rampant Chiefs side at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Amakhosi’s seventh consecutive victory could be a sign of things to come for the frontrunners who last achieved the feat when lifting the title in the 2014/15.
The Soweto giants have been trophyless since then but when you take a look at the current standings and see they’ve opened up a 10-point lead at the summit, the drought could well be coming to an end.
As for Stellies, they have produced some promising results, and even went on a four-game unbeaten run and moved away from the danger of the relegation zone. Heading into the encounter with Chiefs they hadn’t lost a home game in four outings (a win and three draws).
Coach Steve Barker’s charges stunned Orlando Pirates and knocked over then third-placed Polokwane City for their two victories to date from 12 starts.
But two losses in their last three games shoves them back into the danger zone and only a point keeps them and AmaZulu FC above bottom-placed Chippa United, who have eased their plight somewhat with back-to-back victories.
Barker’s boys didn’t take the fight to Chiefs, it was the other way round and they took a beating. Chiefs’ first two goals came in the first half from set-pieces.
“We were soft protecting corners and never recovered,” said Barker.
“Chiefs then had the game by the scruff of the neck and showed us what it takes to be the top team in the league. We were well beaten and can only learn from an experience like this.”
Stellies do have some decent players at the front of their formation, what they don’t seem to have is players who can link up with them.
One of the big positives in getting promoted to the Premier Soccer League was the energy in the squad that claimed National First Division honours last season.
But winning promotion to the top flight did result in a lot of the group being let go in favour of bringing in guys with PSL experience, and while that made a lot of sense, has it not come at the expense of what got them to the land of milk and honey in the first place?
What is now needed is a little run without defeat in the new year of say six or seven games.
There is just one game left for them to play this year, tomorrow away to third-placed SuperSport United. A point would be most welcome but after their latest effort, unlikely.
Meanwhile, Cape Town City, with new coach Jan Olde Riekerink in the dugout for the first time, played out a goalless draw at Bloemfontein Celtic on a heavy pitch in poor condition.
But the result was good enough to move the Citizens two places up the table to 11th on 12 points from 12 games.
They welcome sixth-placed Highlands Park to Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (6pm kick-off).