Stellenbosch F.C. Head Coach Steve Barker has paid tribute to Oshwin Andries following the promising defender’s untimely passing last weekend.
“As a football club, we are saddened by the tragic loss of such a talented young player, who at only 19 years has lost his life,” Barker said during the Nedbank Cup media event on Wednesday. “It hasn’t been easy for us as a football club because Oshwin had been with us from a young age.
Andries joined Stellenbosch F.C. as a young teenager and won the Club’s U-16 Player of the Season award, before being promoted to the DStv Diski Challenge squad. There, he helped Stellies win the league title last season before travelling with the team to England to play in the Premier League Next Generation Cup. The 19-year-old was a star performer in the United Kingdom, where he famously scored from the half-way line in the 7-2 win over Leicester City in the final of the competition.
“Part of the strategy of the club is to provide opportunities for players like Oshwin, who come from difficult circumstances, to realise their dreams,” Barker added. “For him to go and watch Liverpool play Manchester City (in the Community Shield) and witness that, and to play and win the Next Gen tournament where he scored a David Beckham-esque goal from almost his own half, and to then come back and be promoted to the PSL team…
“Three things I remember and will never forget, were the three performances he had at the Danie Craven Stadium this season. In his full debut he was Man of the Match against Orlando Pirates. He had a great game thereafter against Royal AM where he scored a fantastic goal, winning the ball on the edge of his own box and carried it, passed it, received it and scored at the other end. Then, his last appearance was against Cape Town City, where again he put in another strong performance.
“It’s perhaps a cliché saying, but I often tell the players that every game should be played as though it is their last game, and for Oshwin it was the case against City, and he could have been very proud of his performance on that night. It was full of courage, bravery and quality in an important match, at home in the derby in front of a stadium full of people, and he acquitted himself extremely well.
“It was just poignant that he was the last player to leave the field. Everyone had gone to the change room and he went and thanked the supporters, and that happened to be the first time that his whole family was there to come and watch.”
Andries made his final appearance for Stellenbosch F.C. during the 3-2 Cape Derby win over Cape Town City F.C. on 27 January 2023.
Andries, who also captained South Africa at U-20 level, made 11 appearances for Stellenbosch F.C. in total and holds the record of being the youngest goalscorer for the Club in the DStv Premiership following his wonder-goal against Royal AM last August at the age of 19 years, five months and 20 days.
“He was a very talented young man who came from a difficult background, but rose above everything to follow his dreams,” Barker concluded. “He loved football and lived for football, and he had high hopes to achieve many great things.
“We are extremely saddened by his passing… We can only celebrate the achievements he had in such a short time, but his death is tragic and has left a big hole at the club in terms of not seeing Oshwin in training, seeing the smile on his face, and knowing that he had many dreams that he still wanted to reach.