Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena had nothing but warm words for his Stellenbosch FC counterpart Steve Barker ahead of the two sides clash.Sundown and Stellies will meet afternoon at Tuks Stadium in a DStv Premiership fixture on Saturday the 14 of May.
Under Barker the Western Cape-based outfit has been able to grind results using a blend of youth and experience.
Now they set to consolidate their Top 8 finish with two matches to go, likely to finish ahead of Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United and AmaZulu should results go their way.
Mokwena said their opponent’s 2021/22 campaign should not go unnoticed.
“I don’t know whether they can sustain I can only speak in relation to the background of what has happened last couple of seasons, they’ve always been a team that lost a couple of players.
They lost the skipper last season at the beginning of the season, they lost I think many players; the one that went to Cape Town All Stars in the NFD, they are the team that looks to strengthen by having a very extensive scouting base.
“There is-they’ve got a lot of work that they do in that department, I’m privy to understanding to some work that is happening in that space and what they do they have got a very good technical team, very experience in Steve Barker someone who knows how to work with a budget that is not so extensive, I mean he has done that at Tuks” Mokwena explained.
Barker has in the past spoken about the Stellies model of looking to the academy and not spending big money on high profile players, and Mokwena applauds the approach.
”He’s gone about producing and helping players like Mthokozisi Yende and Andile Jali I mean you can name so many of them that were at Tuks then went on to bigger clubs and they were still able to have very good runs in the PSL, I don’t see a reason why Steve can’t be able to maintain the profile of the team” said Mokwena.
The Downs mentor also highlighted the club’s impressive facilities: “They look like an organisation that is well run, they look like they have very good facilities, I have seen the high performance facility that they have in Stellenbosch, they’ve got a very good stadium and administratively it looks like the club is professionally run, so when you tick those boxes the most important then it performance and performance is derived from one- quality of the players and two- motivation from the organisation to be able to achieve certain goals and I’m sure that is what they have”.
Mokwena added that he expects a tough game when they host Barker’s side at the ABSA Tuks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
By Mazola Molefe