Cape Town - Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker has revealed that due to traffic congestion, the Cape side arrived one-hour before kick-off for their Absa Premiership clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday.
Stellies have been using Cape Town Stadium and Athlone Stadium as their home venue for matches as they experience life in South Africa’s top-flight league for the first time in their history.
Few weeks before the start of the 2019/20 season, the Premier Soccer League ordered the club to find a new home as the Idas Valley Stadium did not meet the stipulated criteria.
The drive from Stellenbosch to Cape Town Stadium is just under an hour's drive - 55 minutes (56,3 km) via N1, according to Google navigation maps.
A mid-week clash against Amakhosi was sure to attract thousands of fans as they headed to the stadium for the 19:30 kick-off.
Travelling from Stellenbosch, Barker’s side sat in the strenuous Cape traffic and with an hour before the scheduled start of the match, arrived at the stadium.
“It’s not easy when you’re playing away from Stellenbosch in Town – we came here on a bus,” Barker explained.
“There was a traffic problem which took us an hour and forty-five minutes to get here (stadium) for our own home game.
“We got into the changing room at 18:25, card check was 18:30 … so, a lot of things did not go our way this evening.”
And things certainly did not go Stellies' way as Chiefs beat Barker’s charges 4-0 to claim maximum points.
The result ensured Amakhosi (31-points) remain 10-points clear of second place and current champions, Mamelodi Sundowns (21-points), while Stellenbosch (11-points) are anchored in 14th position.
Stellenbosch were set to play three matches before the festive season break but will now only play two matches – SuperSport United (Saturday, November 30) and Baroka (Saturday, December 21) as their game against Sundowns has now been postponed due to the Telkom Knockout final.
Barker believes that despite the setback, Stellenbosch are on track to survive relegation this season.
“Had we finish the season in the same position we are now (14th) we will have achieved our target, so we’re on track,” Barker said.
“Our game against Sundowns has been postponed because they’re playing in the Telkom Knockout final. So, after Saturday we only play in three weeks’ time on the 21 December against Baroka.
“So, it’s going to be a long three weeks if we don’t get points on Saturday, I think it is a motivating enough factor that we have to put in a good performance.”