Home Sport Durban humidity could be Stellenbosh’s undoing

Durban humidity could be Stellenbosh’s undoing

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Stellenbosch got a feel for KZN on a Saturday afternoon when they defeated Richards Bay’s neighbours AmaZulu in Durban at the weekend.

Coach Steve Barker during Stellenbosch FC training at Lentelus Sports ground. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, African News Agency (ANA)

Hosts Richards Bay and Stellenbosch will raise the curtain on the weekend’s Carling Knockout semi-finals in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Natal Rich Boyz and visiting Stellies meet on Saturday afternoon at the King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi, and on Sunday afternoon the Carling Knockout focus remains in KZN where hosts AmaZulu will run out against TS Galaxy at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

On current form, Stellenbosch, who are the best-placed team in the DStv Premiership, will be the favourites in the semi-finals. For the first time in PSL knockout history, the semi-finals will not feature one of the PSL’s ‘big three’ teams.

Stellenbosch got a feel for KZN on a Saturday afternoon when they defeated Richards Bay’s neighbours AmaZulu in Durban at the weekend.

Steve Barker, the Stellenbosch coach, said it would be challenging to deliver a repeat performance this weekend.

“It is going to be difficult,” said Barker. “Cape Town is far away so there’s a lot of travel, and conditions are tough for the players because we don’t get the same humidity.

“You could see that there were patches where we thought AmaZulu may break through because of our energy levels, and the impact that has on the ability to get to a cross or go with a runner.

“It’s always been a difficult place to come to but we did well and we have to get used to it because hopefully we will be back here for another two matches (a semi-final and a final).”

Kaitano Tembo, Richards Bay’s Zimbabwean coach, says his team will not be favourites despite their giant-killing act in the previous round when they eliminated Orlando Pirates.

“We are the underdogs,” said Tembo. “If you ask all those clubs who they want to meet, they want to meet us. But it is a cup game, anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, in Sunday’s match, the in-form TS Galaxy could have the edge over AmaZulu, who caused a stir in the opening round by eliminating champions Mamelodi Sundowns. The game was settled via a penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2 after extra time.

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