Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker anticipates David & Goliath encounter against Orlando Pirates


Stellenbosch FC head coach has shared his thoughts ahead of the club’s upcoming MTN8 semi-final first-leg encounter against Orlando Pirates.

Stellenbosch are set to play host to Orlando Pirates at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Sunday, 3 September, in the first leg of this season’s MTN8 semi-finals.

Speaking ahead of the match, Stellies head coach Steve Barker revealed his excitement ahead of the much-anticipated clash and at the prospect of potentially reaching a first-ever final for the club.

“We are very excited and looking forward to the match on Sunday,” Barker told the media at an open day on Friday.

“With our decent Nedbank Cup run last season where we reached the semi-final, and just missed out on a final through the semi-final, I think the players and we as the technical staff sense that we are not far off from making our first final.

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“This is a great opportunity to be able to achieve that. It’s one of our objectives this season to compete for trophies and make finals and win finals.

“There’s great excitement, it’s our third big match in a week in Cape Town. Unfortunately, the previous two (against SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs) didn’t go the way we wanted it results-wise, but Sunday gives us an opportunity to redeem the week with a big performance and a positive result against Pirates.

“Playing them home and away is never easy, over two matches, but we have shown in the beginning of the season when we played them and beat them at home, albeit a tough match, that we’ve grown as a team.

“Over the last couple of weeks and matches, we’ve been able to get the team to gel better, although results haven’t always gone our way. We’re very excited and looking forward to the match, the players are up for it.

“There’s a FIFA break afterward where the players will have a couple of days’ rest, so we have to put in one big final effort in this first part of the season, and if we can do that I’m sure we’ll be able to ask Pirates many questions.”

Barker also applauded the quality and recent improvement of Sunday’s opponent and revealed that he is expecting a David v Goliath encounter when the two sides meet this weekend.

“If you had to look from the beginning of last year up until now, they are probably one of the most improved teams,” he added. They showed last season by winning two cups and ending second in the league. I think they have strengthened really and brought in some exciting attacking players into their squad.

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“They are a team that plays with confidence and energy, and move the ball very well. They’ve got match-winners all across the park so they are a good team and they’ve improved a lot but I also think that we have improved over the last couple of weeks. We’ve got to know some of our newer players and what they can offer us.

“I anticipate that Pirates will come with confidence to defend their trophy but one could maybe say that there are three Goliaths and one David in the hat currently, and we all know what David did.”