Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker: I can’t speak highly enough of our players

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Steve Barker has lavished praise on his young Stellenbosch FC squad after they extended their unbeaten run with an impressive away win over Kaizer Chiefs.

The Maroons extended their unbeaten run to 19 matches across all competitions on Tuesday evening after recording a 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium, courtesy of a late first-half goal from Devin Titus.

Speaking after the match, Stellies head coach Steve Barker was quick to praise his troops for their current run of form which has seen the club consolidate its spot in second position on the DStv Premiership log standings.

Match report: Titus fires Stellenbosch to victory over Kaizer Chiefs

“…I can’t speak highly enough of this group of players,” Barker said. “It’s now 19 games unbeaten of which 15 are wins, and you can see out there that the players are getting what they deserve for the effort they’re putting in.

“It is a massive result for us to get and to solidify our position in the second with nine games remaining. There’s still a lot of football to be played, and 27 points to play for, but if you had asked me at the beginning of the season if we would be in the position we are in, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

“It’s a bit surreal for me sometimes, the run we are, but it’s important to maintain concentration, focus, and get back up for another big game against Sekhukhune United on Saturday.

“We’ve got to get back to Cape Town, rest and recover, and then put on a big performance for a team that is also in good form at the moment.”

Elaborating further, Barker highlighted some of the key factors behind the team’s club-record unbeaten streak and shared his belief that his outfit could continue in the same vein in the weeks to come.

We’ve got a small squad and sometimes that can be challenging, but it also has its advantages,” he added. “Everyone is playing a massive role, sometimes by starting with others coming off the bench, and other times with it the other way around.

“The whole team is committed and in a good space, and they all feel as though they are contributing to the cause. Players like Devin Titus, Jayden Adams, Antonio van Wyk, Qobolwakhe Sibande, Athenkosi Mcaba, and all our young players have got that experience now, and they’ve learned how not to lose matches.

“We’ve also won a cup and I think that taste of success has helped them see that it also brings individual rewards, with some players getting called up to the Bafana Bafana squad recently. All of that means we’re in a good space at this stage. Everyone is contributing and everyone is playing a massive role.

Read | Notice of fixture change: Stellenbosch FC v Sekhukhune United

“We have an attacking line-up where everyone is capable of scoring or creating goals so I think we are a difficult team to play against, and if we can solidify our defence like we have done with the last two clean sheets in a row, then I think we can continue on this good run.”

Stellenbosch FC will be in action again on Saturday, 6 April 2024 when the Maroons host Sekhukhune United at the Danie Craven Stadium in a DStv Premiership encounter. Kick off for the match is at 17h00.