Stellenbosch, Maritzburg battle for first win

Stellenbosch FC will be hoping to register their first win in the Absa Premiership when they play host to Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm CAT.

The Cape club have yet to register a point nor a goal in their opening two games as a top-flight club. Following a 0-0 draw away to Chippa United, Stellenbosch suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to derby rivals Cape Town City earlier this month.

Despite the slow start, head coach Steve Barker is confident that his side have shown enough in their first two games to prove that they belong in South Africa's top-flight.

“I felt we did enough to earn a share of the spoils in a game of two different halves," Barker said following the loss to the Citizens.

“They were on top in the first, us in the second, especially in the final half hour. We started to find our rhythm and created a number of goal-scoring chances.

“That said, we need to improve elements of our game and will use the two-week break before we return to Athlone to entertain Maritzburg United to iron out those deficiencies but I’m proud of my boys for putting up a fight against a rival viewed as a potential league contender," he concluded.

Maritzburg United have conjured the same amount of points this season, with a loss to Golden Arrows followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Highlands Park

Like Barker, Team of Choice head coach Eric Tinkler is encouraged by what he's seen from his troops so far this season, and isn't worried by the club's slow start.

"I think so, like I said it before I look at both games from [Golden] Arrows to this one [against Highlands Park, I think we've got lots of strength. I look at my bench, they look good to me, I see a hell of a lot of positivity, but we are in the business of results so we will be judged by that.

"Our performances show that we had good pre-season. We will get better game by game, we were just unlucky," Tinkler concluded.

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Stellenbosch FC:

Iqraam Rayners: Last season's top scorer in the National First Division, Rayners will be itching to open his account in the Premiership. Having yet to open their goalscoring account in the top division, Barker will be counting on Rayners to do just that in Athlone this weekend as they go in search of their first win.

Morgan Gould: The veteran centre-back will play an integral part in the club's survival push this season. Gould's experience and leadership qualities are priceless and especially valuable to a team brimming with players new to top-flight soccer.

Maritzburg United:

Miguel Timm: The midfielder has been entrusted with pulling the strings in the middle of the park, and following two promising outings in his first two games this season, Timm will be eager to play an integral part in a first win for the KwaZulu-Natal club this season.

Judas Moseamedi: The Team of Choice's main problem over the last 12 months has been been their lack of goals and with only a defender (Kwanda Mngonyama) having netted for the club so far this season, it seems a persisting problem. Moseamedi will thus be hoping to end the barren run with a goal on his return to the Mother City.