Stellenbosch FC will be looking at coach Steve Barker for inspiration in this year’s Nedbank Cup.
The former AmaTuks mastermind shook the whole country as his then, young 2rd tier University of Pretoria reached the final of the 2009 Nedbank Cup‚ and along the way had some notable scalps‚ including that of Kaizer Chiefs en route to the cup final against Moroka Swallows at Rand Stadium, where Tuks lost 1-0.
Now in charge of rookies Stellenbosch in the Absa Premiership, Barker will be looking to guide his side as they welcome fellow PSL side and 2018 Nedbank Cup losing finalists Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium on Friday night.
The Cape side will be making their 1st appearance in this year’s Nedbank Cup last 32 and coach Barker says this will be an opportunity for his players to prove their worth and be seen.
“As I was driving this morning, I was thinking about that cup final a decade ago. It was one of those magical moments and we had some really talented players who went on to have successful careers thereafter.
“It would be nice to again take a team of Stellenbosch, a new club to the final. Again, we’ve got some talented players that deserve to be seen on the stage week in-week out and hopefully this will be a situation where it launches careers, ” added Barker.
“Stellies” have brought in well-travelled & experienced defender Asavela Mbekile from Orlando Pirates, as well as former Caf Champions League winner Nathan Sinkala from DRC Giants TP Mazembe. And Barker sounds quite pleased with the acquisition of the 2 experienced players.
“And bringing in players of the caliber of Nathan and Asavela shows that the club has got intent to keep growing and developing as a club in depth and quality. So, the two signings are what we needed right now, and they fitted in nicely for us,” said the ‘Stellies’ mentor.
Stellenbosch have recently been enjoying a good run of good in the league where they won 3 games in a row before stumbling to Black Leopards, but Steve believes his side are slowly finding their feet.
“I do feel that we have now found our feet, I just get the impression on the field that no team is now looking at Stellenbosch and say this is a must win game. Every team coming to play us, they gonna have to work harder for a win,” concluded Barker.
Kickoff is at 8pm.
By Shane Matsoyane