Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker expects his team to pick up all three points from their DStv Premiership game against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday.
CAPE TOWN – A true sign of the growth Stellenbosch FC have undergone this season is the fact that coach Steve Barker expects his team to claim “maximum points” in their Dstv Premiership encounter against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday at the Danie Craven Stadium.
Pirates belong to the royalty of footballing clubs in Mzansi, with the Soweto giants revered all around the country.
But Stellenbosch, who are now just three seasons into their existence in the top flight, are no longer satisfied to just compete with the bigger teams.
They now want to topple them from their lofty perches, gained primarily through reputation, particularly when the opposition visit their Danie Craven Stadium fortress, like Pirates will be on Wednesday.
Stellies have certainly shown they can back up this confident talk with performances this season as they remain the only unbeaten club along with league-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in the Premiership. Barker is hoping that they can maintain this momentum after their 2-2 draw with AmaZulu over the past weekend.
“I thought the performance was good enough that we deserved to get more out of the (AmaZulu) game. It is important in a short turnaround that we get over these things quickly and refocus in a big match against Orlando Pirates,” Barker said.
“It is an important game. It is our third home game in a row. We have drawn the previous two, so for me it’s important that we get maximum points against Orlando Pirates. I feel like for the first time in this league we can go into a game against Pirates feeling that we can get maximum points.”
Still 𝙐𝙣𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙣, still 𝙐𝙣𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚, now, more 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙚𝙙 than ever.
Contrasting scenes y/day.
It hurts to drop points the way we did. – We'll look to bounce back midweek! Thanks for the support #stelliesfamily 🍇#StellenboschFC #ProudlyStellenbosch 🍇 pic.twitter.com/kLihaNQHeF
— Stellenbosch FC (@StellenboschFC) November 21, 2021
Pirates, meanwhile, have endured a topsy-turvy season thus far. The Buccaneers have played three games during November, winning one (Sekhukhune United), drawing another (Golden Arrows) and losing the Soweto derby to Kaizer Chiefs.
Stellenbosch, though, have already beaten Chiefs this season to show off their quality, but Barker is still wary of the threat Pirates pose.
“I would rather focus on what we need to be doing and be aware of the challenges that they can provide us, but they have the individual qualities in the team to win any game. That’s why you can’t look too much into their inconsistencies,” Barker said.
— Stellenbosch FC (@StellenboschFC) November 22, 2021
There has been plenty of discussion related to what has actually inspired the turnaround at Stellenbosch after they just avoided relegation last season. Barker puts it down to simple execution.
“There are a myriad of different reasons. The players have matured, the confidence levels have been raised. But the main thing is our conversion rate and it’s not that we are creating so many more chances than we did last year, it’s just that we are converting much more than we did last year,” he said.
“I think it was clear we created chances last year, we just were not taking them. Fortunately this season we are just taking them.”