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Rayners assures Stellies not carried away by good run

‘Derbies are different because not only points are at stake but bragging rights’

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Iqraam Rayners of Stellenbosch FC and Sibusiso Mthethwa of Richards Bay FC during the Carling Knockout, semi-final match last Saturday
Iqraam Rayners of Stellenbosch FC and Sibusiso Mthethwa of Richards Bay FC during the Carling Knockout, semi-final match last Saturday
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Stellenbosch talisman Iqraam Rayners has assured they are turning a deaf ear to all the attention and plaudits they’ve been receiving amid their current brilliant run of form.

High-flying Stellenbosch host Cape foes Cape Town City, who are in a blistering form in their own right, in the league at Danie Craven Stadium on Friday (7.30pm). Stellies head into this Cape derby off the back of reaching the Carling Knockout final, their first ever.

On top of that, Stellies are also unbeaten in their last five league fixtures with four wins and a draw, scoring an impressive nine goals, while conceding once in the process. On the other hand, City have won all their last six league games for the first time in their history.

Amid this fantastic run, Stellies have been lauded from all corners. Rayners emphasised they are disregarding the hype, feeling if they embrace it they’d lose focus and fail to continue doing well.

“We don’t pay attention to the hype and outside noise because we know what can happen if we do that. Our minds would be easily distracted if we tell ourselves that we’ve arrived as people say,” Rayners, who boasts five goals thus far in all tournaments, told Sowetan.

Stellenbosch will face TS Galaxy in the Carling Knockout decider at Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 16. Rayners has vowed they haven’t started saying about the cup final yet, putting all the focus on the Cape derby.

“We know we are in the Carling Knockout final but we focus on the derby for now because we know winning this game can take us to third place maybe,” Rayners said.

“We know it won’t be an easy game because it’s a derby. Derbies are different because not only points are at stake but bragging rights and pride as well.”

Rayners credits brotherhood and being family-orientated as a team for their purple patch.

“We always have team-building sessions and that has created a family environment in this team. I can safely say that knowing that you are playing with your brothers, knowing that this is your family has contributed immensely in what we are achieving now,” the Stellies striker said.


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