Stellies look to end year with a bang
CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker says his boys became men after the PSL clash away to defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The top-flight rookies held their own against the Brazilians and enjoyed a 1-0 half-time lead before going down 3-1, resulting in drop down to last place on the table.
“Ryan Moon landed the early blow for us with his second goal of the season and then we give up three goals, the first a penalty. We then drop two late-on to end up with nothing,” said Barker.
“Losing centre-back Mogamad de Goede to a red card in the second half dented our cause. But we showed enough quality against one of the top clubs in Africa.
“We take a lot of positives into Saturday’s match at Baroka FC, a side on the up and dangerous on their home field. Our goal is to come away with a point and close out the year on 13 points from 15 games. That may not read as a good return but keep in mind that we have played away from home 10 times.”
Stellies have only managed two wins but have proven to be tough nuts to crack. But they do need to come away from 12th-placed Baroka with a point at the least to ensure they don’t fall off the pace even further.
De Goede being suspended along with left-back Mark van Heerden and midfielder Nkanyiso Zungu makes things a lot more difficult for Stellies taking on a rival chasing a third win in a row and fourth in five starts.
“They’re a dangerous proposition and no doubt on a high after some good results, but we lie down for no-one and will go to them believing we can get something out the game,” said Barker.
Is the coach feeling any pressure? “Not at all,” he said. “Look how far we have come as a club. We landed in the PSL ahead of schedule and approaching the half-way stage of our campaign we are not too far away from a move away from the relegation zone if we can just bag a win or two in the new year against teams around us on the log.
“A six-point gain and we’re up close to mid-table. We have a young and inexperienced squad gaining experience by the game and soon you will see us show that we belong in the league.”
Meanwhile, 13th-placed Cape Town City are away to fourth-placed Wits tomorrow night and the chances of the Citizens coming home with anything are slim based on recent form under new Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink, who is still winless after four games, with two losses.
Mike de Bruyn