Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker looking forward to ‘must-win’ Swallows clash

Football - DStv Premiership 2023/24 - Golden Arrows v Stellenbosch FC - Mpumalanga Stadium

Steve Barker addressed a number of talking points ahead of his side’s league clash against Moroka Swallows.

Stellenbosch FC are set to welcome Moroka Swallows to the Danie Craven Stadium on Tuesday evening for a much-anticipated DStv Premiership fixture.

The encounter comes just three days after the Maroons played out a goalless draw against Golden Arrows in Durban, but head coach Steve Barker believes his side have the experience to deal with the fixture congestion.

Ticket and fixture information for Moroka Swallows clash

“I think we get used to it,” Barker said. “A lot of the matches in our league are three days apart, so from an experience point of view we have experienced that in the past.

“The main part, especially when you’ve traveled away, is to get back and regenerate and re-energise. We’ve had one training session before the match, so a little bit of a tweak here and there, just to make sure we’re prepared.

“It’s nice to be playing as often as we do. We want to be playing matches and after the 0-0 draw against Golden Arrows, it’s nice to be able to host Moroka Swallows.

“It’s obviously a big match in the context of the league, and in our position, it’s a must-win situation for us. But there’s a bubbliness in the team, good preparations have been made and we’re ready.”

Tuesday’s match will be the eighth meeting between Stellies and Swallows in all competitions and the hosts have avoided defeat in all seven of the previous encounters between the two teams.

Barker reveals that he is hopeful of maintaining that streak but stresses that the previous results won’t play a factor ahead of what will be a challenging matchup against the Dube Birds.

“I don’t think one goes into the game knowing that that’s the stat. Every game is a new challenge and Swallows have changed quite a bit,” he added.

“They’ve obviously changed coaches, there are a lot of new players in the team and they’ve had a half-decent start to the season, and after losing last weekend they will be wanting to bounce back.

“So, every game is different in that context, but it’s good to have these types of moments that you build over a period of time and hopefully we can continue with that by putting in a big performance.”

Stellenbosch will be without the services of suspended Thabo Moloisane and Deano van Rooyen for the tie, the latter of whom misses out after suffering a concussion during last weekend’s draw against Arrows.

“Deano is fine, fortunately, it wasn’t too serious. He still has a concussion and his stitches are still in, so he’s not available but he’s doing fine. We’re very pleased with that and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Recap – Stellies earn point on the road against Golden Arrows

Meanwhile, Antonio van Wyk could be set to reach a notable milestone as he will be making his 50th appearance for the club if he takes to the field on Tuesday evening.

“It’s very pleasing to see,” Barker concluded. “The milestones are now starting to stack up for the number of players in their young 20s reaching 50 caps at PSL level.

“I’ve always maintained that you really become a fully-fledged PSL professional player once you get to 70, 75, or 80 caps and there are a couple of them who are getting there, and one or two who have already reached that.

“I’m very pleased for Tony, he’s a very talented up-and-coming young player who has already had some good minutes and game time, and hopefully on his 50th cap we can reward him with a victory and maybe he can reward himself with a big performance.”