Barker eyeing a top-eight finish

Stellies coach wants home games in the bag

FILE IMAGE: Steve Barker, head coach of Stellenbosch FC.
FILE IMAGE: Steve Barker, head coach of Stellenbosch FC.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

Stellenbosch will play four of its five DStv Premiership games at home this month, and coach Steve Barker wants his team to take full advantage of that and make it count. 

Barker is banking on their home ground advantage, and he expects his troops to come out on top. 

The former AmaZulu coach expects them to get their New Year off to a flying start when they host newcomers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, tomorrow at 5pm. 

They will welcome another team from Limpopo, Black Leopards, to the Winelands after their clash against Tshakhuma.  

Stellies' only trip will be away to  Free State to face Bloemfontein Celtic on January 16. They will play two more home games against Baroka and Kaizer Chiefs this month. 

Barker said he expected them to make things difficult for traveling teams in Stellenbosch. "We travelled a lot before the break and have an opportunity to pick up points at home. I told the players that we play in a strong league, and the best way to get ahead is to win your home games. We are excited about playing at home, and I am hoping that we will use the situation to our advantage," said an optimistic Barker.

 Stellies ended their 2020 with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against struggling Maritzburg United last month. 

Their last home game ended in a 2-1 defeat in the derby against Cape Town City. They occupy ninth place on the log table with eight points from nine matches. 

Tshakhuma are in 10th place with eight points from seven games ahead of their trip to the Western Cape. 

Barker is targeting a top-eight finish and his hopes of achieving that feat rest on how his side performs at home this season. "Before the pandemic we were supposed to play four games in a row at home, but we completed them in a bio-bubble in Gauteng.

"That disrupted our objectives, and we have an opportunity to work on our target by making it count at home. If you don't win your home games, you are making it difficult for yourself. The players know the importance of winning our home matches, and we hope to enjoy the month of January by  collecting as many points as we can at home," added Barker. 

Fixtures 

Tomorrow 

Swallows v Cape Town City, Dobsonville Stadium, 5pm

TS Galaxy v Baroka, Mbombela Stadium, 5pm

Stellenbosch v Tshakuma, Danie Craven Stadium, 5pm

Golden Arrows v Black Leopards, Sugar Ray Xulu, 5pm

Wednesday

SuperSport v Chippa, Lucas Moripe Stadium, 5pm

 

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