Harsh realities of PSL hitting home for struggling Stellenbosch

TOUGH BAPTISM: Stellenbosch FC are finding it tough going as they experience the challenges of their maiden season in the Absa Premiership
TOUGH BAPTISM: Stellenbosch FC are finding it tough going as they experience the challenges of their maiden season in the Absa Premiership
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Stellenbosch FC are likely to ring the changes for Saturday’s away soccer game against Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium as they play a third match in a week  — something that is a novelty for many of their rookie squad members.

The realities of the harsh Absa Premiership schedule are hitting home for the National First Division champions‚ who have lost their first two games of the new year and sit second from bottom.

“We will have to refresh the team and rotate with these three games in seven days‚” said coach Steve Barker‚ who is banking on the trip galvanising his side.

Stellenbosch lost to both Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic at the Cape Town Stadium but‚ as Barker points out‚ they have had better success on the road. Their last game before Christmas was an away win over Baroka FC‚ who are now bottom.

“It’s not easy to lift players after losing two in a row but our last win was away and we need to find some positives out of that‚” Barker said.

“We have been giving the ball away cheaply but we really don’t have the players who are comfortable on the ball.

“We are lacking the ability to keep the ball for long periods. We don’t have the ball long enough to create opportunities for ourselves.”

Highlands Park do not play a possession-based game so that might be a factor in favour of Barker’s men this weekend.

“A single win will push us up to 18 points‚ which makes our 30-point target so much more attainable‚” the Stellenbosch coach said.

Stellenbosch are just looking to retain their top-flight status this season, but are finding it tough to measure up against some of the more established PSL sides.

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