STELLENBOSCH FC coach Steve Barker insists his team will not be relegated back to the GladAfrica Championship, at least not without a fight.
Stellies, promoted to the Absa Premiership this season, showed how deep they are willing to dig to survive the dreaded drop when they pulled off a stunning performance to thrash Highlands Park 4-1 at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.
The shock win lifted the Cape Winelands outfit from the bottom of the standings and sent them to 11th place with 18 points from as many matches, two points clear of the danger zone.
“Many people believe we’ll go down, but we don’t believe it and we won’t allow it,” said Barker.
“I told the players that they need to respond to all the criticism from back home on the field and prove our detractors wrong.
“We’ve been told that the team is this, the team is that, we’ve got a lot of PSL rejects, we’re not good enough and all those other things. So I just said at the end of the day, we’ve got to take the criticism, we’ve got to shrug it off and be in this fight together.
“We are one team, one unit and one soul. The only people who can make this team stay in this league is ourselves and we have to be united, be together and fight for one another. I think that message got across to the players and they showed it in abundance, so I’m pleased.”
Barker, though, is well aware that his side is not yet out of the woods and will need to be more consistent.
He has described their next two games against Baroka and Polokwane City at home, as must-win matches that would turn their season around.
“One win does not get you out of trouble,” insisted Barker.
“We’ve got Baroka and Polokwane City in the next two games, both in Cape Town, so that becomes massive for us.
“But this (win) gives us a foundation to build from.
“If we can get back-to-back wins that will help us climb up the table and relieve some of the pressure for the time being. But it’s a long way to go. Twelve cup finals for us but we showed that we’re up for it, we won’t just lie down.”