Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker has labeled this weekend’s DStv Premiership match against Golden Arrows as a “massive encounter” with both sides looking to secure their position in the top eight of the league standings.
Stellenbosch FC (7) and Golden Arrows (8) are separated only by goal difference in the DStv Premiership standings.
Steve Barker’s side head into the match on the back of a resounding 3-0 victory over Swallows FC last weekend.
The encounter is the first of three matches in seven days for Stellies, who take on SuperSport United next Tuesday and host a Nedbank Cup semi-final four days later.
The Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch will play host to another crucial DStv Premiership match as seventh-placed Stellenbosch FC take on eighth-placed Golden Arrows on Saturday evening in an encounter that could have ramifications on the race for a top-eight finish.
“We have another big match this weekend against Golden Arrows,” Barker said during his pre-match interview. “In this league, getting back-to-back wins is always massive but we’ve created that opportunity for ourselves with the recent win over Swallows FC.
“We now need to back it up with another really good performance against Arrows. Everyone is looking forward to it, preparations have gone well, the mood is good and there is a lot of competition for places in the starting XI so we need to go into it with confidence and belief. It is our home game and we’ve had some good performances here of late, so hopefully we can continue with that.”
“We’ve had two consistent performances in our last two matches, so it’s about continuing that and not becoming complacent,” Barker added.
“You’re only as good as your last match though, so it’s important to go into this weekend with the confidence that we’ve built up but also with the understanding that there are no easy fixtures in the DStv Premiership. We cannot take it lightly against Arrows who are a good team, so we will have to play well to take maximum points.
“It’s very tight in the positions around us and we are on the same points as Arrows. If we can take maximum points and create that three-point gap with only matches left thereafter, it puts us in a strong position to finish in the top eight.
“It’s a massively important match for both teams so it’s key that we go into the game with the bigger desire to get it over the line. Then there is a short turnover before we play SuperSport United away, followed by the Nedbank Cup semi-final, so it’s a big week ahead, but we need to focus on taking it one game at a time.”
There is a quick turnaround between the weekend’s match against Arrows and next Tuesday’s meeting with SuperSport United, but Barker insists that he and his team are taking it one game at a time.
“I think one has to be mindful of that situation, but at the same time, it’s about concentrating on what is in front of you,” he concluded.
“We have to put every effort into that match, and then once that’s over and depending on the result, injuries, suspensions, et cetera, we can start planning for the away game against SuperSport United, keeping in mind that we also have a big semi-final four or five days after that.”