Stellenbosch F.C. coach Steve Barker has hailed Deano van Rooyen after the home-grown hero became the Club’s all-time record appearance maker.
In front of a home crowd at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch-born star Deano van Rooyen became the Club’s most-capped player of all time on Sunday afternoon when he took to the field for a record-breaking 115th time in the famous maroon jersey.
The 26-year-old full-back, who made his senior competitive debut as a 19-year-old in 2016, is the last remaining member from Stellies’ maiden 2016/17 campaign and climbed to the top of the appearance charts after overtaking his former teammate Rafiq de Goede.
Van Rooyen made his professional debut on 27 August 2016 when he featured as a substitute in the club’s first-ever match, coming off the bench in a 3-1 National First Division defeat to Mthatha Bucks.
Following the match, in which Stellenbosch pushed league-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw, head coach Steve Barker was quick to pay tribute to the player whose name has become synonymous with the Club’s ethos and success in recent years.
“Deano is just fantastic for this football club,” Barker said following the match. “He’s had a tough 18 months to two years with the loss of family members; both his parents, the late Oshwin (Andries) was his cousin, and recently he lost his grandmother as well.
“He looks after his family and siblings so for him to still continue to perform week in and week out the way he does, and with the effort that he gives, is a just a credit to him and the human being that he is.
“I am really delighted for him that he has been able to claim the record. When I arrived at Stellenbosch, right at the beginning when [former coach] Sammy Troughton was still here, Deano and (former Stellenbosch F.C. forward) Ashley Du Preez would come to training from school as young kids.
“To see him and others fulfil their potential, and become idols in their communities, where people look up to them as upstanding members of the community now, is really something that I am pleased for, and he deserves every accolade that he gets.”
The most-capped players in Stellenbosch F.C. history (all competitions):
Deano van Rooyen (115)*
Rafiq de Goede (114)
Jarrod Moroole (108)
Ashley Du Preez (98)
Alan Robertson (95)
Iqraam Rayners (85)*
Leletu Skelem (78)
Marc van Heerden (78)
Lee Langeveldt (74)*
Sibusiso Mthethwa (73)
Barker previously shared, “Deano is a warrior, he’s a fighter and he plays with his heart on his sleeve. He has grown so much as an individual and we see him as such a massive success story for us as a football club. We are proud to see the way he’s developed and grown to become the most-capped player at Stellenbosch and to be leading the team.
“There is a lot of pressure on Deano, but at the same time he has risen above all of these challenges that he has faced and stood tall. Amid it all, he’s a player that puts in consistently good performances week in, and week out, and is one of the first names on the team sheet because you know you’re going to get an eight-plus performance from him.”