Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker: We have one mission against Golden Arrows

Football - 2023 Nedbank Cup - Stellenbosch FC Media Day - Lentelus Sports Ground - Stellenbosch

Head coach Steve Barker is looking to bounce back to winning ways when his side takes on Golden Arrows on Saturday afternoon.

In the first match since the end of the September international break, Stellenbosch FC have travelled to Kwa-Zulu Natal where they will take on Golden Arrows at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday.

“It’s been two weeks that we haven’t really played, but considering that we played three really big games in a week [against SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs, and Orlando Pirates before the international break], it came at a good time for us to be able to reassess, regroup, reflect, and re-energise ourselves in preparation for a big game against Arrows this Saturday,” Barker said ahead of the match.

“So, I thought the break was good for us. There were a lot of niggles, knocks, and little injuries that we were able to overcome, but most importantly there was a lot of mental and physical refreshment and we’re ready to tackle the task ahead.”

Saturday’s encounter will see Stellenbosch come up against the second-placed team in the DStv Premiership standings but the coach was clear that his side had prepared well and were up for the challenge of battling for all three points.

“Preparations have gone well. It was a good break that we had and this week has seen a lot of energy and commitment from the players,” he continued.

“We want to get back to winning ways and it’s important for us, after the last two league losses, to bounce back with a good performance that will put us in a position to get maximum points. We’re going there with one mission and that is to win the game.

Barker will, however, be without the services of suspended Devin Titus and Thabo Moloisane, but he has backed their replacements to step up and be counted against Abafana Bes’thende.

“Obviously it’s never ideal to get red cards, and both Devin and Thabo have been really good for us. But, these things happen, and it does provide opportunities for other players who have been waiting to play. We’ve got confidence in each and every player in the team and in the squad, so it provides that opportunity for others.”

The last meeting between Stellenbosch and Arrows saw the team from the Cape Winelands claim a 5-2 victory at the Danie Craven Stadium, and there is confidence to be drawn from such a performance heading into the weekend.

“It’s a different game and a different season, they’ve also changed their squad a bit, but I obviously remember and recall that the performance was a really good one, so it has to give us confidence,” Barker concluded.

“They are a different type of team away from home and we haven’t played at the Mpumalanga Stadium before, so that will be a new experience for us. They’ve also had a good start to the season so I’m sure they will also have confidence.

“But we have to take heart from those types of performances where we won 5-2 to give us the belief and confidence that we can go away and get all three points.”