Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
17 Jul 2020
3:06 pm

‘It is what it is’ says Barker, on uncertainty over PSL resumption

Sibongiseni Gumbi

The Covid-19 enforced break to the Absa Premiership games has been a challenging experience for both coaches and players, but there is some good that could come off it, Stellenbosch FC coach, Steve Barker believes.

Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker (Pic: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix)

Barker says playing week-in and week-out tends to make the players forget why they are in the game in the first place, and the break has worked wonders in refueling the passion of the players.

READ MORE: Edmilson can’t wait for PSL to restart

“When it (the break) happened, we didn’t know how long it would take. (And) The longer it went the more frustrating it became,” Barker told a South African Football Journalists Association (Safja) virtual media conference this week.

“Some players forget their love (for the game) and why they play the game… if you play week in and week out, you tend to forget. A lot of them have come back refreshed, happy to see the ball, happy to be playing football again.

“This game provides for us and we should appreciate it,” he added. But just when the players and coaches were happy and looking forward to the resumption of games, a further delay was imposed when Safa revealed that the referees would not be available to officiate for at least another two weeks.

The PSL had planned to have the games resume this weekend with the Nedbank Cup semifinals and with Absa Premiership games games next Tuesday. Barker says they have to accept what has happened and focus on getting their team ready.

“My stance on the matter is: you reach a stage where you need to worry about what you can control. And that is where I am now. I am controlling our preparation on a daily basis. We were prepared and are continuing preparing for the games to resume. If our games start later than the 22nd which we were planning for, we will be even better prepared.

“We are ready to fulfil our fixtures. We have to be ready for any eventuality – whatever date we have to start, whatever the fixture list will throw at us … even if we are to play every second day.

“It is not ideal, but we also want to get back to playing football. It is our livelihood. We want to be active again and complete the season,” he said.

‘Stellies’ – who are in their first season back in the top-flight – are 11th on the standings but still not safe from relegation with just seven points separating them from the bottom placed team.

“It is our job to finish this league we still have to complete and stay in this league which was our objective from day one. We still have work to do. We just have to block off all the noise around us and not let the uncertainty bother us. We have to worry about our next training session and not look too far ahead, and wait for the direction (from PSL),” said Barker.

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