Barker pays tribute to departing Stellies stars

Premiership

Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker has paid tribute to the club's departing stars after confirming the impending exits of at least seven senior players.

Stellenbosch FC ended the 2021/22 DStv Premiership season on a high on Saturday after recording a narrow 1-0 win over Cape Town City at the Danie Craven Stadium to complete a famous domestic double over their Cape derby rivals.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the seven players who will be leaving Stellenbosch FC

Steve Barker's side claimed all three points on the day courtesy of a dramatic 87th-minute winner from veteran midfielder Granwald Scott, who scored his first goal for Stellies in his final appearance for the club from a set-piece situation.

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The 34-year-old's contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign and he is one of at least seven players who will be leaving, with the club confirming the departures of Robyn Johannes, Waseem Isaacs, Stanley Dimgba, Nathan Sinkala, Sibusiso Mthethwa and Zitha Kwinika as well.

"Scotty doesn’t score too many goals, so it was a fitting farewell for him," head coach Steve Barker said after the match. "We wanted to give the guys who are leaving a bit of a swansong and a bit of a run-out.

"I'm a bit heartsore and sad because of the decisions we've made [to let them leave] but the players can walk with their heads held high because they've left the club in a better place.

"Robyn Johannes, Granwald Scott, Waseem Isaacs, Stanley Dimgba, Nathan Sinkala, Sibusiso Mthethwa and Zitha Kwinika, who I think everyone is aware is going to Kaizer Chiefs, are the players that are leaving.

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"I cannot speak highly enough of what they have done for this club. So as much as we are happy [with the result] we are sad at the same time. They all can continue playing and one or two of them have already got offers around.

"They may come back later as coaches or part of the football club, but sometimes you have to make those decisions and hope you've made the right ones."

Barker also confirmed that Stellenbosch would be active in the transfer market while also looking to promote young stars from the club's reserve team, who were recently crowned 2021/22 DStv Diski Challenge champions.

"We will have to [sign recruitments], most certainly," he added. "Let's hope we can have a good transfer window and look to bring in the right players who will continue to take us forward. We probably have to start a bit of a new cycle. A couple of our young players will be rewarded with first-team call-ups, and we are active in the market to continue strengthening the squad."

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