by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE DStv Diski Challenge is Stellenbosch FC’s title to lose this weekend!
Perched at the top of the 16-team table and needing only a point to secure a historic championship, things are looking up for the side from the Western Cape winelands.
They are on the verge of glory amid a challenge offered only by capital city side, Supersport United, when the Reserve League concludes on Saturday.
This would cap a memorable season overall for Stellenbosch, whose senior team has also managed to collect a record number of points as the DStv Premiership also reaches a conclusion.
However, it is in the Reserve League, as the Diski Challenge is also known, where Stellies have been impressive.
They top the standings with 61 points with the final games set for this weekend. Stellenbosch are two points ahead of Supersport and enjoy a healthy goal difference of 37, which is 20 goals more than Matsantsantsa’s.
Both sides face tricky encounters away to sides in the top eight.
The table-topping Maroons visit fourth-placed TS Galaxy at the Tsakane Stadium while Supersport’s Spartans travels to eighth-placed Royal AM at the Mpumalanga Stadium.
Both matches kick off at 12h00, to bring the curtain down the 2021/22 football edition of the DStv Diski Challenge.
Jason Rhoda, the Stellenbosch assistant coach, conceded the lead up to the final game of the campaign was a nail-biting affair.
“The boys are ready but we’re not going to say there are no nerves,” he told CAJ News Africa in an interview.
“There obviously are nerves. There is a bit of tension because we understand that it’s not only us. Supersport are still in the running. We have to respect that,” he said.
Rhoda added, “What’s important is for us to stay focused on what we need to do.”
“It’s been working for us the whole season, being process-orientated. I don’t think we should change that now,” Rhoda said.
Stellenbosch have been nervy as the Reserve League reached its final stretch and were winless in three successive games in April.
However, they have come right and won their last three games on the trot.
Supersport have won their last nine games and are unbeaten in 12.
One of those victories was against Stellenbosch (1-0), on April, which tilts the scales in favour of the Pretoria-based side.
“The boys are quite relaxed… a little bit of nervous but they know what they need to do,” Rhoda said.
“So, one more big push to come and hopefully we are champions. So, we are looking forward to this weekend,” Rhoda said.
He maintained while a draw would be enough to hand his side the title, and the fact that the head-to-head favoured Stellenbosch after they won the other fixture against Supersport 3-1, Stellies were going all out for victory this weekend.
“Neither coach Van (Evangelos Vellios) nor I know how to coach a team to get a draw,” Rhoda concluded.
The winner of the challenge will topple AmaZulu as the champions.
– CAJ News