CAPE TOWN – Coach Steve Barker isn’t losing sleep over Stellenbosch FC’s failure to win a game yet in the Premiership, believing a positive result is just around the corner for the league rookies.
“We’ve been competitive in the four games we’ve played and could well have won a game or two had luck gone our way,” he said.
“We showed against title contending sides Cape Town City and Wits last time out that we are up to scratch defensively and a threat going forward. While we haven’t had one of our players score a goal, we got one from an own goal from Wits through pressure.
They only managed to beat us in the last couple of minutes, we were 1-1 and it was a pity we conceded when we did to deny us what would have been a third draw to go with the 1-0 loss to City.”
Stellies, who are one from bottom of the log in 15th place on two points, on Sunday visit 11th-placed Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium (3pm kick-off).
“They’re a tough side to beat on their field as shown by their 5-0 drubbing of Golden Arrows, although champions Mamelodi Sundowns did come away with a 2-1 victory,” said Barker. “We have spotted weaknesses in their DNA and have been working hard during the two-week break on areas where we he can hurt them.”
Stellies, who have to play six of their first eight matches away from home, have two points compared to Celtic’s four points. But Barker points out that a couple of wins on the bounce would propel teams a handful of places up the table, hence his calm demeanour, but is aware that a win needs to come sooner rather than later.
He will be hoping his front-line players can find a way to break down a defence that has leaked five goals in four games. Iqraam Rayners was all the talk in the National First Division last year with his 19 goals, the most by any player.
But in the elite division he’s found the going tough, although he has had a number of promising sorties that have come to nought due to being closed down quickly without support players around him to make it count.
Ryan Moon is the other striker who’s yet to reach top gear.
“Ryan came to us without much in the way of a pre-season but I’ve seen improvement from him and expect to see him come into the game more with more game time,” said Barker.
“Iqraam just needs things to fall his way to cash in. Better support play from our midfielders and wider men can start the ball rolling.
Defensively, the arrival of former Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes on a free transfer from Wits beefs up our stock.
He brings a wealth of experience and that can only do our cause good.”
Mike de Bruyn