Barker hopes victory against Usuthu will boost Stellies confidence

'Disappointed' Franco looks forward to cup clash with Galaxy

27 November 2023 - 07:39
By Neville Khoza
Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC and Riaan Hanamub of AmaZulu FC during the DStv Premiership match on Saturday
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC and Riaan Hanamub of AmaZulu FC during the DStv Premiership match on Saturday

Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker hopes their 1-0 victory against AmaZulu will boost their confidence ahead of their Carling Knockout against Richards Bay at King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday.

That win over Usuthu was Stellies’ first in Durban since 2016 and with the semifinal and a final to take place in KwaZulu-Natal, Barker believes this will now give them belief that they can go there and win again.

Anicet Alain scored the only goal of the match in the first half and that was enough to hand Stellies all three points.

“Yeah, it’s difficult. I mean Cape Town is far away. There is a lot of travel and the conditions were tough for the players,” Barker told the media during the post-match press conference.

“We don’t get this humility that we experience in this game. You could see there were patches in the match. I thought they might breakthrough because of their energy levels.

“It’s always been a difficult place to come and we have to get used to it. We are here for another two matches. We are here next week with Richards Bay and if we can pass that difficult hurdle, then we are back here for the finals.

“It’s nice to break that duck and it will give us confidence and belief that we can do it again.”

Barker also lauded his players for their performances and added this is what they need to show going into every game.

“I’m proud of the players, the work rate, the commitment under difficult circumstances to keep pushing and that’s a sacrifice we need to show if we want to continue being successful. I’m pleased with the overall performance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Usuthu coach Pablo Franco doesn’t believe the defeat, their first at home this season, was a wake-up call ahead of the Carling semifinal against TS Galaxy at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday.

“It was disappointing to get our first defeat at home, but I’m sure the team is going to stand up and we are going to be ready for the semifinal on Sunday,” Franco said.

“This is the most important game this season and we are ready to make history and we will start thinking of what is coming next because there are also positive things that we can take from the match.”

Elsewhere, Cape Town Spurs continued with their poor run when they lost 2-1 to Royal AM at Cape Town Stadium.

Khulekani Shezi and Menzi Masuku scored for Royal, while Ashley Cupido scored the only goal for Spurs late in the second half.