Steve Barker has hailed Iqraam Rayners’ return to goalscoring form after the striker fired Stellenbosch FC to victory over Richards Bay on Tuesday evening.
Following a challenging start to the campaign, Iqraam Rayners has returned to the form that saw him 15 goals in 14 appearances last season, after winning three consecutive Man of the Match awards and netting three goals in his last two appearances for the Maroons.
That tally included a match-winning double in Tuesday night’s 2-1 DStv Premiership victory over Richards Bay which saw Stellenbosch shoot up the league standings and back into a top-eight position.
“It was a great performance,” head coach Steve Barker reflected after the match. “I’ve always known that Iekie will score goals for us.
“Strikers go through some patches where they are maybe a bit unlucky, and in his case, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. He was still creating chances but they just weren’t going in so it was nice for him to get on the scoresheet again and I think it’s important for us for a player like him to be scoring.”
Barker also revealed that he was pleased with his side’s hard-fought victory over the Natal Rich Boyz and credited the character the team showed to grind out the result.
“Massive win, back-to-back wins are always massive in this league and to follow up our [last league] win over TS Galaxy at home was really important for us,” he added.
“It was a tough game, not an easy match, and we had to dig deep, especially in the last 20-25 minutes where he had to deal with a lot of pressure, a lot of bodies going forward, and a lot of set-pieces into the box.
“There were also some magnificent saves from Sage Stephens and a lot of clearances from our box area that were needed, but you’re not always going to win in an easy or comfortable way. Tonight we showed that if we really have to dig deep, we can.
“That’s something to gain confidence from, but we do also need to learn that when we are leading games we need to have a bit more composure and keep controlling the game so that we don’t have to defend for such long periods.
“But it was a massive and important win for us, and it sets us up nicely for another tough away game against Chippa United this weekend. Mental, physical, and emotional refreshment will now be the order of the day before we have to travel.