Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker: It was an awesome performance against Polokwane City


Steve Barker has hailed his side’s Carling Knockout victory over Polokwane City as an “awesome performance” and revealed his excitement at competing in yet another cup semi-final.

Stellenbosch FC advanced to the semi-final of the 2023 Carling Knockout competition on Friday after recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, courtesy of first-half goals from Iqraam Rayners and Devin Titus.

“It was an awesome performance,” head coach Steve Barker said during his post-match interview with SuperSport.

“I thought we really started the game well with the two early goals and then after that, it was just a typical Stellenbosch performance from the team who dug deep and worked hard for each other. The players were tactically well-disciplined and showed good tactical awareness throughout the match.

“Obviously [at that point] Polokwane City had nothing to lose and started sending a whole lot of numbers forward, playing the early ball and working off [Ndumiso] Mabena. Oswin Appollis also had a really good and caused us problems, but I thought we held our structure and defended well.

“If you look back at the match, I think they had one good chance with a header at the back post, but besides that, we handled the situation very well. So, I’m very proud after a great effort from the players.

“We played with a lot of energy and intensity,” he added. “We’re a team that likes to put the opposition under pressure and not allow them time and space on the ball, and I think we executed that really well. Credit must go to the players for a magnificent effort.

“There were some standout performances from a number of players but as a team effort, I’m really proud of what the lads did this evening.”

With his side’s ticket booked for a spot in the last four, Barker revealed that his side would be drawing from the experience of their recent semi-final outings in the Nedbank Cup and MTN8 competitions as they look to go at least one step further this time around.

“We missed out on reaching the Nedbank Cup semi-final on penalties and in the MTN8 semi-final on the away goals rule, so we feel like we’re getting closer to reaching a final and winning a trophy,” he concluded.

“That’s what is driving us. We’ve learned our lessons from those semi-finals and we are now in a third semi-final, so hopefully we can take those lessons… But, our name is in the hat, so we’ll wait for Monday to see who we get in the next round and hopefully get a home game.”