Troughton is ready to scratch and claw away in yet another derby
THE Cape’s highest placed and lowest-placed teams will lock horns this weekend as round five of the NFD throws up two derby clashes.
Eighth-placed Santos will host sixth-placed Stellenbosch FC at Parow Park today, while second-from-bottom Milano United face lastplaced Cape Town All Stars at Athlone Stadium tomorrow.
Santos are desperate to rediscover the form that saw them open the season with a 2-1 win against Mbombela United, after slumping to a 2-1 loss to Black Leopards before fighting from two goals down to draw 3-3 against All Stars last weekend. Meanwhile, Stellenbosch are on an upward curve, with two consecutive victories following two consecutive defeats.
“They’re the opposite to us; they started well and have faded away a little. But in derby games you can’t really take form into account,” Stellenbosch coach Sammy Troughton said about The People’s Team.
“They may have struggled a bit lately but I know come Saturday, they will be up for it and ready for a scrap if it needs to be a scrap and we must be the same, because if we’re not then we will be caught out.”
Stellenbosch started with 3-1 and 2-1 defeats to Mthatha Bucks and the University of Pretoria respectively, but rebounded with respective 2-0 and 2-1 victories over Magesi FC and Royal Eagles. According to Troughton, expectations are high for the newly-formed side, but the number of derbies could make life difficult.
“I always say it’s difficult for a Cape team to win this league because they kill each other. There are eight derby games in everyone’s calendar and it tends to be a tight game, very competitive, and a bit of a leveller sometimes,” he says.
“You can’t ignore the derby factor. You have to take it on board, look forward to it and prepare your players for it. I’ll do that to make sure we don’t lose our heads and get over-excited. We have to be totally focused to take on Santos.”
Elsewhere, Milano and All Stars will look to climb off the foot of the table at the expense of one another. Eezy My Kinnes have lost all four of their games and slumped to a 4-0 thrashing against Leopards in their last match. In All Stars, Milano face a side who have been lively in attack, but paid heavily for their defensive lapses.
Milano head coach Boebie Solomons feels his side can take advantage after their drubbing in Thohoyandou last week. “We feel good and we would like to bounce back. We will be on home soil, playing in our conditions, so we should fare better,” Solomons said.
“We fared very well in the past couple of games before the Leopards match. All the other games we’ve played, we’ve fared very well. It’s just that unfortunately we didn’t win those games, but we played very well.
“So that is a very positive sign for me, because had we played badly and lost then I would have been a very worried man. It’s just a matter of a lapse of concentration that made us lose.”
The Cape’s fifth NFD team, FC Cape Town, will visit AmaZulu at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban tomorrow. Fixtures Today: Santos v Stellenbosch FC, Parow Park, 3pm. Tomorrow : AmaZulu v FC Cape Town, Milano United AFC v Cape Town All Stars, Athlone Stadium (all 3pm).