Sage Stephens believes Stellenbosch FC will use the league defeat to Polokwane City at the start of the season as motivation ahead of this weekend’s Carling Knockout quarter-final against Rise and Shine.
Stellenbosch FC are set to take on Polokwane City for a spot in the Carling Knockout semi-finals when the two sides meet in the last-eight at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening.
The encounter will be the second meeting between Stellies and the team from Polokwane, with the latter having emerged victorious following a hard-fought league clash in August.
Speaking ahead of the match, goalkeeper Sage Stephens revealed that he and his teammates were looking forward to the trip to Limpopo and that they would use the previous result as motivation to deliver a better performance this time around.
“We are all obviously very excited to be in the next round and looking forward to the clash,” Stephens said.
“In our last meeting with Polokwane City in the league we weren’t happy with the result, so we’re looking to rectify that because we owe them one, and this is a great occasion for that.”
Stellenbosch FC overcame competition from Chippa United in Gqeberha in the Round of 16 and will again be on the road for Friday’s match – a factor that won’t play much of a role in proceedings according to the Maroons shot-stopper.
“We travel well as the Stellenbosch team, we play well away from home,” Stephens added. “The technical team and staff look after us well so it’s not a big factor for us. We all know what is expected of us, so we have to show up and be present on Friday evening.
“…This [the Carling Knockout] is the one where we need to make that next step, and make it to the final. You can see that this is a big club so it’s up to us as the players to now take that next step. If we want to compete with the big clubs then that is where we need to be, we need to be competing for the trophy.”
Last month’s meeting against Chippa United also saw the 32-year-old break into the club’s top 10 for all-time appearances, with 79 outings across all competitions to date, and he is eager to build upon that milestone for the foreseeable future.
“I didn’t even know about it before the match, but obviously I’m very happy about it,” he said. “To be chasing a player like [record appearance holder] Deano van Rooyen, a club legend, is going to be a hard task but I’m happy that I’ve been fortunate enough to be on that list.
“There are some big names, big players for the team who are on that list, so hopefully I can stand the club in good stead and keep pushing as best I can.”