Steve Barker was understandably delighted after Stellenbosch FC stunned champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday at TUKS Stadium, an offensive game that sank Masandawana 3-0 in the DStv Premiership.
The Sundowns had their chances, but Stellenbosch showed why they were one of the surprise packages of the 2021/22 campaign, securing this qualification to victory for next season’s MTN8.
“For the entire football team this is a special day to get what we have with these youngsters to be in the Sundowns’ backyard and beat them 3-0,” said Barker.
24-year-old Ashley Du Preez scored two goals Stars while 21-year-old Jayden Adams also scored with a brilliant lob over Ricardo Goss, who had a day to forget in a rare start for the Sundowns.
We started the season well, we were 11 matches unbeaten and then we had a bit of uncertainty in the middle, but we finished strong. We still have a game against Cape Town City, but we have achieved our goal of finishing in the top eight and now we can dream of finishing even higher in the standings. So this has been a great day for us, ”added Barker.
The Sundowns had already finished the title, of course, so a day off could be forgiven given the circumstances, but co-manager Rulani Mokwena still gave Barker and his team a lot of praise.
“It was one of those things that happen in football,” Mokwena said.
“Congratulations to Stevie Barker. If that happens, I’d rather it happen to Stevie … he’s an incredible gentleman, and an incredible servant of the game, and has made a lot of history on this field (Barker was TUKS head coach from 2008 to 2014, getting promoted to the Premiership in 2012. ).
“Some things are written in the stars and we have to accept them.”