Stellenbosch FC might be new to the Absa Premiership, but Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena is wary of playing a relatively unknown side in the first round of the Telkom Knockout at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Mokwena is also well-aware of the experience that seasoned campaigner Steve Barker brings to his role as Stellenbosch coach.
The Cape side also come into this match after their first league win of the season on October 2 at Polokwane City ahead of the international break. Pirates, meanwhile, have themselves won just once since Mokwena took the reins in mid-August.
“It’s going to be a tough match, it’s never easy playing a team that is relatively new and relatively unknown. But coach Steve Barker has a very experienced technical team behind him. He’s been with Tuks, he knows the competition inside-out, he knows the league and he has a good assistant in coach Wesley (Sergel) as well,” said the Bucs coach.
“So, it is a strong technical team backed up by a strong team. They have done very well in the transfer market. You can see the new recruits, but also, they have kept the core of the squad that helped them win promotion to the PSL. That makes it very difficult because it’s a team that has cohesive superiority and that is one of their major strengths.”
Mokwena added that the club have used the Fifa break to thoroughly prepare for this match, and said his players have also done their work in analysing their opponents.
“I have always maintained that for us, our force is based on two things – one is hard work, two is preparation, we always try as much as possible to be prepared for the opposition.
“The players have done the work and fortunately for us, we had the Fifa break and sometimes when you have a lot of days you have a lot of time to invest in analysing the opposition – checking their strengths and weaknesses.”