Stellenbosch confident ahead of Kaizer Chiefs challenge_1

Stellies downed the Buccaneers at the same venue a month ago thanks to Iqraam Rayners’ 21st minute winner. In doing so, they avenged a 1-0 Telkom Knockout defeat to Rhulani Mokwena’s men.

Barker feels that there were both positive and negative takeaways from their double-header with Ezikamagebhula that should be taken note of ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Asked whether or not there were lessons to be taken into the Chiefs game from the win over Pirates, Barker said in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference: “We showed that any team that has got spirit and fight in them and are resilient and hard to beat is difficult for any opponent.

“We have become a team that I don’t think teams want to play against because they know they’re going to have to play well to beat us.

“What it did show is that we have character, we have great personality on the field of play. We’ve got a huge amount of commitment; emotional engagement towards the club. We want this club to be successful.”

However, Stellenbosch were overrun by Pirates in the Telkom Knockout clash in particular. Barker is not counting on a smash-and-grab victory against league leaders Chiefs.

“We also obviously have to start controlling games more ourselves and not allow the opposition, as in the Pirates game, to have as much opportunities and possession as they had. You’re not always going to get the winning result if you don’t control the game.

“That is an area that we’re looking to improve on and to work on.”

Ashley du Preez is the only injury absentee for Stellenbosch with Nyiko Mobbie fully fit again. Morgan Gould starts his two-match suspension following a red card against Highlands Park.

Stellies will miss the experience of the former Chiefs defender, but Marc van Heerden is confident that they have enough seasoned campaigners to fill the void.

“It’s not only Morgan. Robyn (Johannes)  has been there, played for Pirates and Sundowns. I’ve played for Pirates. Even Boy [de Jong] played at the highest level in Europe,” former Buccaneers left-back van Heerden told the media.

“I think (the senior players’ role) is just imparting some wisdom onto the younger players… You’re going to be playing in front of 25,000 plus. It’s things like not being able to hear each other and instructions from the coach.

“Being aware of what you’re doing on the field and where you are on the field at all times — that’s sort of what we as senior players have got to do.

“As a footballer, you want to play in matches like this with crowds like this.”

Kick-off is scheduled for 19:30 for the clash between league leaders Chiefs and Premiership new boys Stellenbosch.

This article first appeared on the website

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