Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker has credited the perfect start that saw them go for 11 games unbeaten for their outstanding season.
Stellies have had a fine season, capped off by an emphatic 3-0 win over DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday. Barker has praised his charges for the team’s highest-ever finish in the top flight since their promotion to the topflight football in 2019.
“Today is the special day for the club to have achieved what we’ve done with the youngsters and come here [Tuks Stadium] and beat Sundowns 3-0 in their backyard,” said the former AmaZulu coach.
“The season started well, eleven games unbeaten, we had a bit of a wobble midway, we sort of recovered and finishing strong, so one more game next week against Cape Town City, we’ve achieved our objective of top 8 finish now we can dream of even high up the table,” added the Maseru-born tactician.
Barker believes getting a victory against the expensively-assembled Masandawana takes much tactical discipline. “I think when you play Sundowns, it starts with defending well, so we had to do that. You know they are a team that if you give too much time on the ball, they can get comfortable, so they don’t like a team that’s on their face and a bit aggressive.
“We knew they’ll leave a high line; that’s the way they have position deep in our half, and every time we had the ball, we played Ashley [Du Preez]. We knew his pace would cause them problems, which it did with the two goals, and our third goal was a bit of glass from our youngster Jayden Adams,” concluded the 54-year-old.
Stellenbosch lie fifth on the DSTV Premiership table after 29 games played with 10 victories, 14 draws and only five defeats; Stellies will be hoping to wrap up their season on high and taint Cape Town City’s chances of qualifying for the CAF Champions League next season when the teams face off in the Cape Town derby on Saturday, 21 May.