Stellenbosch FC’s remarkable story continued when they earned promotion to the top flight by winning the 2018-19 National First Division. Their incredible rise could well continue as Steve Barker’s side has signed some top quality players, namely Mpho Matsi (loan), Marc van Heerden and Morgan Gould.
Iqraam Rayners was a shining star for Stellenbosch in the National First Division, finishing as the league’s top scorer. He could provide the spark for them upfront as Stellies look to establish themselves in the league.
Survival in their first top flight season would surely be enough for Stellenbosch FC, but with the impressive squad they have, they can afford to dream of more. One obstacle, however, is that they will not be able to play home games at Idas Valley Stadium at least for now as the stadium is not up to PSL standards.
“We have engaged the Stellenbosch University for the usage of their two stadiums – Coetzenberg Stadium and Danie Craven Stadium. Here too, certain upgrades need to be done in order to comply with PSL regulations. We are awaiting feedback from the university as to what the next step in this regard is,” said club manager Garth le Roux.
“Additional aspects also need to be given attention before the stadium becomes compliant. These include, but not limited to, entry/exit points where electronic turnstiles are needed, erecting permanent fencing around the whole perimeter of the playing field, and improving the playing surface. We have met with the local sports board and municipality to discuss the upgrading of the facility. Hopefully, a solution can be found as we definitely still want to play games at the venue.”
For the time being, Stellenbosch will have to play their home games in Cape Town. Nevertheless, with an impressive technical team and a well-balanced squad, Stellies can fancy their chances of survival. Life should get easier for them if they survive their first campaign in the top flight.
Stellenbosch FC nicknames
Stellenbosch FC history
Stellenbosch FC came into existence in 2016 following the relocation of Vasco da Gama into Stellenbosch. Their rise has since been meteoric as they were consistently a strong NFD outfit and they finally gained promotion in 2019 following two previous failed attempts.
Stellenbosch’s success can largely be attributed to investment from new owners Remgro, a company owned by business tycoon Johann Rupert.
Their new-found success has inspired a community and Stellenbosch FC were delighted following their NFD title win last season.
“It is clear what this means to the community. Everyone on the management and ownership did a great job, but most importantly the players stood up and have been counted. Not a single player in this group has ever won a league title,” said coach Steve Barker at the time, according to Stellenbosch Visio.
“For us to have stayed on top of the league table for 23 weeks is testimony to the hard work these players have put in week in and week out. I just want to thank them…they deserve this.
“We worked hard from day one. We want to play in the big league, against the best players, we want to be in the big stadiums, we want to showcase our abilities against the best players in the country and we achieved the opportunity to do just that.
“We will surely enjoy the moment, but the hard work for next season will start early in the new week.”
Player Lee Langeveldt had his say too, clearly aware of the wider significance of Stellenbosch’s success for the community.
“This is a dream come true. Not just for me as a player, but also for the soccer community of Stellenbosch. Finally, we have a professional club in the Winelands, and we are getting the systems in place to make sure that the future stars won’t need to leave to make their dreams reality,” he said.
Captain at the time of the triumph, Jarrod Moroole, said: “I actually have no words. This is so big and so special. This team did a great job and we are just grateful for everyone involved in the club, but also for the fans. We did this together as a family.”
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