Coach has no tougher mandate than to avoid relegation

Barker wants to see Stellies survive

Steve Barker (Head Coach) of Stellenbosch FC.
Steve Barker (Head Coach) of Stellenbosch FC.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker says he has no mandate. The 52-year-old’s job is to make sure that the Western Cape-based side avoid relegation at all costs.

Last season, Stellies missed out on a place in the top 8 when they ended their campaign in 10th place with 36 points from 30 matches.  

The former University of Pretoria and AmaZulu mentor is busy in the transfer market, strengthening his squad ahead of the DStv Premiership season starting next week.

Barker signed Solly Khuyedi and Zitha Macheke from Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City goalkeeper Sage Stephens. Stellies have also beefed up their squad with two international signings. But they are not able to fly the players into the country due to the international traveling regulations.

“We’ve made five signings so far, and we are still hoping to get a few players in before the transfer window closes next month. We have signed two international players, but it’s a struggle to get them into the country due to the travel restrictions. They should be in the country sometime next week. But they will not be part of our first league game,” said Barker.

“We are working closely with the sports ministry to get them here. I’m telling you, they are exciting players who will add value to our team,” said an excited Barker.

Stellies will play their home matches at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch this year and use Cape Town Stadium as an alternative. Last season, they were a closed chapter, but other teams know about them now.

“It was different last season. But now other teams know us. It’s going to be a challenging season, and we want to keep on improving and be better than we were last season. We laid a good foundation, and the plan is to accumulate more points and avoid relegation. I don’t have a mandate,” said Barker.

Stellies have opened their cheque book for Barker to sign any player he wants. But he says that he won’t make too many changes to his team.  

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