Troughton’s side have no choice but to be more com­mit­ted to of­fence

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROD­NEY REINERS

SOME­TIMES, and es­pe­cially in a pro­mo­tion play-off cam­paign such as this one for a PSL spot, a team needs a lit­tle bit of luck. It needs a few things to go its way to pave the way to suc­cess. For Stel­len­bosch FC, un­for­tu­nately, Lady Luck hasn’t as yet flashed a smile at them.

In short, while the Cape Winelands team has per­formed with char­ac­ter and com­mit­ment, luck just hasn’t been on their side. Some­how or other, fate has con­spired against them. To­day, when Stel­len­bosch face Baroka FC at the Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium in Polok­wane (3pm), they are hop­ing for a change of for­tune.

They cer­tainly need it; vic­tory is para­mount. As it stands on the play-off stand­ings, the win­ner of which se­cures a place in next sea­son’s PSL, Baroka are top with four points, fol­lowed by Stel­len­bosch on two and Black Leop­ards on one point. With two games re­main­ing, the West­ern Cape club has to win to keep its hopes alive.

In the open­ing play-off match against Baroka at Athlone two weeks ago, Stel­len­bosch had key mid­fielder Manti Mekoa out sus­pended. His loss was a ma­jor blow – but, de­spite be­ing sec­ond best on the day, the team ral­lied to reg­is­ter a 2-2 draw. Then, in the sec­ond out­ing against Leop­ards in Tho­hoyan­dou, Stel­len­bosch had to face a par­ti­san, sell-out crowd and an in­tim­i­dat­ing at­mos­phere. Again, de­spite things not go­ing their way, they hung in bravely for a 0-0 draw.

Go­ing into this af­ter­noon’s clash with Baroka, it’s no dif­fer­ent. Stel­len­bosch are again on the back foot, courtesy of the ab­sence of the in­flu­en­tial Diego Brown. The ex­pe­ri­enced left-footer was red-carded in the pre­vi­ous match against Leop­ards and is sus­pended.

“It’s not ideal, but this is foot­ball and we have to han­dle it,” said Stel­len­bosch coach Sammy Troughton. “Diego (Brown) gave us great bal­ance out wide and it’s a loss. But, then again, it’s a chance for some­one else to come in and take the op­por­tu­nity. I will have to reshuf­fle things, not se­ri­ously, just a tweak per­haps. I’m not sure yet, I have a few op­tions, like sac­ri­fic­ing young Jar­rod Moroole in the cen­tre and ask­ing him to play wide. But we’ll see, it’s an im­por­tant de­ci­sion, so I will have to think about it.”

As for the ap­proach against Baroka to­day, Troughton knows that Stel­len­bosch will have to make the most of their op­por­tu­ni­ties in at­tack. So far, in the two open­ing fix­tures, the team hasn’t done too much up front, but to­day, with vic­tory so vi­tal, they have no choice but to be more com­mit­ted to of­fence. It’s not a case of be­ing gung-ho, Stel­len­bosch will still em­ploy the same tight de­fen­sive lines – but, when go­ing for­ward, they will have to be more ur­gent.

“I don’t think Baroka will change their style,” said Troughton. “They will come out and play, they are a team that don’t like to sit back and hit on the counter. I think we saw that when they beat Leop­ards 2-1 ear­lier in the week. So we know what to ex­pect, we just have to make sure that we cap­i­talise on the chances when we get them.”

HAPPY RE­TURN: Stel­len­bosch mid­fielder Manti Mekoa could play a key role in to­day’s match.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.