“As long as we look after the ball and stand firm at the back then we can do our thing on attack and cause their defenders problems. We’ve got firepower upfront and aim to use it when the opportunities come”
Strikers Iqraam Rayners and Waseem Isaacs will be two key men for Stellenbosch as coach Steve Barker tries to plot the downfall of Kaizer Chiefs in tonight’s clash at Cape Town Stadium.
Rayner and Isaacs have scored seven of Stellenbosch’s nine goals, and Barker will be relying on the duo to again find the target tonight.
“As long as we look after the ball and stand firm at the back then we can do our thing on attack and cause their defenders problems. We’ve got firepower upfront and aim to use it when the opportunities come,” Barker said.
“One thing they can bank on, we’ll be as fired up as them. It’s a massive clash and we may be the newbies in the league, but if you underestimate us, watch out. We’ve shown ourselves to be no pushovers, rivals must know that when they take us on we will battle to the end.”
Stellies have not sat idle during the international break. They played friendlies against the three Cape GladAfrica Championship (formally known as the National First Division) teams – Cape Umoya United, Ajax Cape Town and Steenberg – and went unbeaten with two wins.
Barker opted to give the fringe players in the squad game-time to get them up to speed and was pleased with what he saw.
Stellies will be prepared from the get-go to meet the direct approach favoured by Chiefs. The Johannesburg-based visitors have a number of attack-minded players and it is a must from the home side to hold their shape at the back much the same way they did when placed under severe pressure by Pirates in a game they ended up winning 1-0.
The likes of Khama Billiart, Lebogang Manyama, Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro are good, strong players who link up well, so time and space and closing the threats down quickly is a must, anything less from Stellies could result in a lop-sided final scoreline.
Meanwhile, Cape Town City will be without Kermit Erasmus for their PSL clash with hosts Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium today (7.30pm kick-off).
The striker with seven goals to his name hasn’t recovered from a hamstring strain sustained when coming on as a substitute for Bafana Bafana in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier victory over Sudan a fortnight ago.
It’s a big blow for the Citizens who are looking to right a sorry campaign under new Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink.
City are likely to turn to former South Africa youth international Fakrie Lakay to lead the attack. The 22-year-old, who made his professional debut for Santos aged 15, joined City as a free agent in September after parting ways with Wits and has had to bide his time for an opportunity to get a first-team start.
That time has arrived and the youngest player to have worn the Bafana Bafana jersey (17 years, 11 months and 25 days) can turn back the clock and show his prowess in front of goal.