Stellenbosch head coach Steve Barker says the whole club is excited to have their home supporters return when they face Kaizer Chiefs at the Danie Craven Stadium in a key DStv Premiership fixture on Saturday evening.
After almost three seasons in the top flight, Stellies have yet to host a game with fans in their home town. In the 2019/2020 season they had to play their home matches in Cape Town, and just when the club moved to the DC Stadium, the covid pandemic halted supporters going to the grounds.
Barker says the club and the players especially cannot wait to have the supporters in the stands.
“I think the whole club, players included, they work hard every day at training, they’re in the forefront, football at the end of the day as players you’re an entertainer, you work hard every day in training to be able to showcase your ability in front of fans,” Barker told the club’s media department.
“So I think everybody’s excited for that prospect this coming weekend. In the National First Division, when we got promoted, we played out of Idas Valley, we had a lot of support, the community behind us. I think it played a big part in the success and getting promoted.
“And once we were in the PSL we moved the home ground to Danie Craven, and unfortunately, it coincided without fans being able to attend, so ja, a historic moment for for the club, a historic moment for the town to have a big club like Kaizer Chiefs and able to have fans, so we’re just hoping that the fans will come out in their numbers, get behind the boys, support them and be that sort of motivation to help us get a positive result.”
Barker says this game against Chiefs is going to be an important one for their objective for the season, and he hopes to bounce back from their defeat against Chippa United last weekend.
“Ja, that’s why the result from the Chippa game was so disappointing, because we had an opportunity to go tie with two big clubs in South African football, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t. However we have another opportunity, we beat Kaizer Chiefs earlier in the season, so it would be a fantastic achievement for us if we’re able to get the double. But right now our focus is on getting the three points, get equal to them on the log table, as well as create a little bit of breathing space between ourselves and the eighth position because ultimately, that is our main objective for this season is to finish in the top eight.
“So the whole season, we’ve been consistently amongst the top six teams, it’s now our responsibility to finish the season strong with the remaining five matches left, starting with Kaizer Chiefs at home. Preparations are going really well, and it’s not a difficult game to motivate players to be really up for the game.
“I’m really excited for fans to be able to come to the stadium and see the development, the growth of homegrown talent, of players like Deano Van Rooyen and Ashley Du Preez, Jayden Adams, for the face to come out and see how they’ve sort of grown as players and watch them live.
“So ja, a big game for us as a club, a big opportunity for us to embed the top eight position and even with a victory against Chiefs, we can even look at trying to finish in those top four positions, and even dream of perhaps a CAF position.”