Stellies face nervy wait to discover CAF fate

Premiership

Stellenbosch FC face a nervous wait to find out if the club will represent South Africa in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

Steve Barker's side brought a remarkable 2021/22 campaign to an end in style on Saturday after recording a last-gasp win over Cape derby rivals Cape Town City at the Danie Craven Stadium.

The result came courtesy of a late goal from veteran Granwald Scott and fired the club into third position in the DStv Premiership standings ahead of Kaizer Chiefs, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Swallows FC in Soweto in one of the day's concurrent fixtures.

However, Stellies will have to wait at least two weeks to find out if they have done enough to secure a spot at next season's CAF Confederation Cup as Orlando Pirates still have three matches to play, and Royal AM's match against Mamelodi Sundowns was abandoned due to inclement weather.

Fifth-placed Royal AM are one point behind the Cape-based side but have to finish a rescheduled encounter against Sundowns before facing Pirates, who are seventh and still also have Maritzburg United and SuperSport United to contend with.

"It puts us in a massive position," Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker said after the match. "Obviously other teams still have to play, but [even] if we can finish in the top four, it would really be an amazing season for us."

Following Scott's dramatic late goal, the Citizens, who themselves were chasing qualification for next season's CAF Champions League, tried to mount a late comeback and came narrowly close to stealing a share of the points at the death.

"I thought time was up there, he [the referee] went about a minute and a bit [over] and right there at the end I thought, "If they cross it is a goal for sure' but fortunately the player was offside," a relieved Barker added.

"So yes, there was that nervousness and then hearing the results from the other teams, I realised how big a win would be for us..."

Stellies end the domestic campaign just their third in the South African top-flight with a club record 47 points after winning 11 and losing just five of their 30 league encounters across the season.

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