Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker: 'We are not safe yet'
Promoted Stellenbosch FC will aim to achieve their first target of consolidating their place in the Absa Premiership‚ then perhaps aim for a top eight place in a promising first season in the top-flight‚ says coach Steve Barker.
Barker finds himself in familiar territory at a team with a youth and academy emphasis and ties to a tertiary institution having coached University of Pretoria for six years.
Stellenbosch FC are owned by Remgro‚ an investment company based in the picturesque Cape Winelands town‚ and its subsidiary‚ the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS)‚ which is a partner of famous Stellenbosch University.
Their impressive structures are part of what saw the club win the National First Division in 2018-19 in their first year of ownership under Remgro and SAS‚ Barker’s second NFD title having also won it with Tuks in 2012.
In their first season in the Premiership Stellenbosch have been tough to beat‚ and were in 11th place with 27 points form 24 games when football was suspended by the coronavirus on March 16.
“The club was bought over by Stellenbosch Academy of Sport‚ and initially we had a five-year plan to get into the PSL. Fortunately we achieved it in one year‚” Barker told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association.
“And then we found ourselves in the PSL and we all know and understand the league is not an easy one to get promoted into and keep your status.
“So we had an objective to just consolidate ourselves this season in the PSL.
"And hopefully then we can lay the foundation to then kick on in years to come and be a team that is well established and competitive in the PSL for a number of years to come.
“This season we haven’t yet gotten over the line. We are not safe yet and four points off the top eight.
“So our first objective is to win football matches as soon as we can to get points in the bag.
"And then hopefully we can then use the remainder of the season‚ perhaps with two games to go‚ to start looking to the future and next season.
“But ja‚ our primary objective right now is to get enough points to ensure that we stay in the PSL.”
The PSL’s Board of Governors meet on Monday to determine the feasibility of an August 1 kickoff for a return to play in a Gauteng bio-bubble‚ with a cancellation of both the Premier Division and GladAfrica Championship (NFD) a possibility.