Stellies v Babina Noko makes for a rapturous clash

Steve Barker and his Stellies team are currently second in the DStv Premiership. | BackpagePix

Steve Barker and his Stellies team are currently second in the DStv Premiership. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2024



YOU have to go back to September 27 to find the last time Stellenbosch FC lost a match. Then, Steve Barker’s team were beaten 3-1 by Mamelodi Sundowns in a DStv Premiership match.

Ever since, the outfit from the Winelands has gone an incredible 22 matches unbeaten. It is a remarkable run that has delivered them the Carling Knockout trophy and taken them to second in the league behind the self-same Sundowns.

Steve Barker and his Stellies team are currently second in the DStv Premiership. | BackpagePix

Such is their form that last weekend they hammered SuperSport United 4-0 to progress to the Nedbank Cup semi-final where they have been drawn to host Rulani Mokwena’s Brazilians. Barker must be thinking “revenge is a dish best served cold”, right?

Continental football clearly beckons for Stellies and with Sundowns seemingly out of reach in the championship, you bet they’d love nothing more than to deny the local giants a cup success by knocking them out of the premier club knockout competition.

Chances are, however, that Barker and all at Stellies would rather play in the CAF Champions League than in the secondary CAF Confederation Cup. As such, it is second place they will want to secure and to do so they need to get maximum points from their visit to Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium tonight.

There they will come up against a Sekhukhune United outfit who are having their own fantastic mini-run. Lehlohonolo Seema’s team have equalled their club record run of five successive league wins and are unbeaten in eight matches in the Premiership.

They are sure to guard that impressive run with their lives against a team they recently held to a goalless stalemate out in their fortress of the Danie Craven Stadium in the Winelands.

It makes for a fascinating clash. Babina Noko are in fourth spot and you can bet they will be keen to have a go at that continental football ticket that comes with finishing in second position.

Lehlohonolo Seema of Sekhukhune United. | BackpagePix

They enjoyed their CAF Confederation Cup as they reached the group stages, so bet on coach Seema and his boys to give it their all to send Stellies back to the Mother City with their tails between their legs.

In the night’s other match, SuperSport are licking their wounds from the spanking by Stellies and should be dangerous against Polokwane City, who visit them at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Gavin Hunt has also expressed a desire to return to continental competition next season and their elimination from the Nedbank Cup has left him having to lead SuperSport to a runners-up berth in the championship to realise that goal.

It is a tough ask. Matsatsantsa a Pitori are in sixth place, four points behind the second-placed Stellies with eight matches left in the campaign. It is for that reason that they have to put City to the sword or kiss CAF participation goodbye.

They are on a five-match winless run, though, and that could weigh heavily against them, though Hunt will no doubt rather stress to his team the fact that they have won five times at this evening’s match venue.

City have ambitions of a top-eight finish and will be eager to get something out of this encounter as they bid to end a wretched away run of just three victories this season. What will inspire the Limpopo outfit, though, is that they have had the better of their adversaries already this season, albeit in a cup competition.

Back in October, when they were still under the guidance of Seema, Rise and Shine walloped SuperSport 4-1 in the Carling Knockout at the Tuks Stadium. And having held them goalless in the league’s opening round match, City have good reason to believe they have what it takes to leave Atteridgeville with something.

Both matches kick off at 7.30pm.