Stellenbosch Football Club

Vellios credits Young Maroons’ fighting spirit ahead of Richards Bay clash

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Evangelos Vellios has credited his side’s fighting spirit ahead of their upcoming DStv Diski Challenge encounter against Richards Bay this weekend.

Stellies’ Reserve team picked up another three points on their travels last weekend when they defeated Polokwane City 3-1, with Thulani Mini and Stellenbosch-born central defender, Tylon Smith among the players on the scoresheet.

That victory was the latest positive result in what has been an intense second leg of the domestic league campaign, and head coach Evangelos Vellios was pleased to have eanred another three points under his belt.

“After the first seven weeks since the mid-season break we’ve had to travel five out of the seven times, so it does take its toll and it is demanding but the players responded well,” Vellios said.

“It’s a long travel from Cape Town to Polokwane with a short turnaround but the boys did very well because we really suffered to win the game. Polokwane did very well, and defended well, while we were playing on the counter attack, but thankfully the boys kept their nerve and never gave up.

“We kept persisting and trying to break them down which we eventually did late in the second half to earn a massive three points for us on our travels”

With one of the local young players on the scoresheet this past weekend in the form of the aforementioned Smith, Vellios also highlighted how special it is to have a group of talented players from Stellenbosch and the surrounding towns.

“We are a club that is open to players all over the nation, even abroad, but it is always special to see local boys from the soil such as Tylon Smith, Tyler Cicero, Nande Jojwana, Keanan Johannesen, Connor de Vries and Liam Slade do so well for the club,” he explained.

“Tylon, specifically,  has been doing superb and he is definitely one to look out for in the future. We are very proud of this group and as a football club it is always special to see players from the community breaking through.”

Looking ahead to the more immediate future, the Young Maroons are set to face Richards Bay FC this weekend at Idas Valley stadium, where kick-off is scheduled for 12:00. Vellios says that with the season soon approaching its end, his players will be motivated to meet the pressure.

“We obviously know when you enter the final third of the season every game is difficult,” he concludes.

“Players want to showcase themselves and get opportunities and contracts so it is always though. We have the pressure to stay in the pact of fighting for this league title, and other teams are fighting for a top eight finish. All of this motivates players to give a bit extra in the final third of the season, and it’s no different for us.

“This means we are expecting a tough encounter this weekend against Richards Bay. When we faced them in the first round it was a very difficult match as they have a really good team and players, so we will have to fight very hard to come out with all three points this weekend.”