Parktown - Stellenbosch FC assistant coach, Steve Barker, believes that despite the colossal task of getting through the PSL's promotional play-offs, joining the top league next season is their destiny.
Speaking at the promotion play off draw in Parktown on Tuesday afternoon, Barker said they have a plan and all they need to do is to execute accordingly. “We believe it our destiny. We have to believe and in between we have to execute and that execution is to happen in those matches. As it stands we’ve got 33.3% chance of getting there (into the PSL) but it’s never easy at the play-offs. There is no room for error when you have four matches and hence we have to start well and show consistency and we also have to be a difficult team to beat,” he said.
Barker said they need to continue an inspiring run they showed for the most part of the season. “It’s been a good journey and the club, I believe, deserve to be where they are. If you look at the whole season, we occupied the play-off position more than any other team since the beginning of the season; hence I believe that that consistency has paid off,” he said.
Barker believes his team will keep improving and will try to better their opponents on and off the field. “Our philosophy at the club is that if you want to be in the PSL and have sustainable success, you have to do things on and off the field better than PSL teams and I think our level of professionalism and preparation has some sort of input into the team for the long haul."
They will play their opening match at home, something which Barker said they will be an advantage only if they successfully get the all-important points from home ground advantage. “We have to make sure we take home advantage and use it to our advantage and make sure we get points as well as when we go away from home. It will take a monumental effort and belief. “Both teams will be difficult. We all know Black Leopards from playing away from home. The fact that we’re at home means we won’t have to travel in that first game and we need to put a marker by getting a solid start to the playoffs against one of the PSL teams. I do believe it is in our advantage as long as we make sure that we get the three points,” said Barker.
Barker took over the coaching position at the club in November last year, joining head coach and former AmaTuks colleague, Sammy Troughton in the coaching staff. The pair elevated AmaTuks (University of Pretoria) from NFD to the PSL back in 2012.
“This would be our third play-off together. Our first was in 2006/07 where we lost in the final of that playoff. Sammy has been to playoffs before where he got Mpumalanga Black Aces promoted (in 2008/09 season). Hopefully that experience we have had in these playoffs and having promoted teams into the PSL, will stand us in good stead. We work well together and we complement each other very well,” he said.