Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker: The desire is there to compete in Africa

Football Dstv Premiership 2023/24 Stellenbosch Fc V Golden Arrows Danie Craven Stadium

Steve Barker has revealed that his side is motivated to maintain their pursuit of continental football ahead of this weekend’s DStv Premiership encounter against Moroka Swallows.

Stellenbosch FC currently occupy second position in the league standings with three matches remaining and are well poised to compete for a spot in either of next season’s CAF Champions League or CAF Confederations campaigns.

Their quest for continental qualification was stalled somewhat following a mid-week draw against AmaZulu but coach Steve Barker has taken heart from his side’s performance heading into the business end of the domestic season.

Match report | Stellenbosch held to home draw by AmaZulu

“I thought we deserved to win the match against AmaZulu, just in terms of intent and the number of chances created,” Barker said.

“Their goalkeeper was named Man of the Match and maybe that tells the story, so I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a fair reflection of the performance because I thought we played well enough to have gotten maximum points.

“It wasn’t to be though and just felt like one of those evenings where the ball wouldn’t go in for us, but it wasn’t because of a lack of quality, effort, or intent to try and win the game.

“The players’ desire was really high and we tried to find solutions to beat a team that was defending in numbers and getting behind the ball with a low block.

“It stems from how we’re playing that teams have given us that type of respect where they look to hold on, not concede, and get something on transition.”

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Stellies have a quick turnaround from the match against Usuthu with another vital league encounter against Moroka Swallows to contend with at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve become used to the quick turnaround now so we just have to get over the result emotionally and get ourselves back to zero,” Barker added.

“We’re still in second position on the log with three games to go so there is a lot to play for. It’s important to regenerate physically and mentally, get on the plane, and make sure we put in a big performance.

“If we continue to play like we did against AmaZulu, even though we didn’t get the maximum points, we will win more football matches.

“The prospect of competing in Africa next season is a massive incentive. Footballers, coaches, technical staff, and support staff all want to be competing with the best.

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“We’ve seen teams from our own country win competitions like the Champions League in the past so there is a massive incentive for our players to want to showcase their talents and ability on that stage.

“The desire and motivation is there so it’s just a case of looking at it as three more games in which we need to apply ourselves.”