Newcomers Stellenbosch FC set to be homeless for at least six months
Newly promoted Stellenbosch FC are set to be homeless for at least the first six months of the season‚ forcing them to move outside the town and start their tenure in the top-flight at a disadvantage.
Last season Stellenbosch rode to promotion on a wave of local support at their base in Idas Valley but with just a single stand and a lack of appropriate facilities‚ the venue must undergo a major renovation in order to be used for matches in the top-flight.
Stellenbosch hoped to use the Danie Craven Stadium on the university campus for their bigger matches - against the likes of Kaizer Chiefs‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates where attendances rise - and host the rest of their home games at Idas Valley‚ thereby keeping the club close to the community.
But that venue‚ and the nearby Coetzenburg Stadium‚ are not up to the standards demanded by the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Although Stellenbosch have received support from the municipality for the needed improvements‚ these are still a long way from being approved.
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“We don’t think we’ll play at Stellenbosch until the end of the year‚” admitted general manager Rob Benadie.
Already Stellenbosch have switched their opening fixture against Chippa United with the Port Elizabeth club‚ who now host the game on Saturday‚ August 3.
That means their first home game is against Maritzburg United on Sunday‚ August 25.
They are arranging to play the majority of their matches at the Athlone Stadium although coach Steve Barker wants to also take games to Wellington‚ where he hopes there is more of an element of surprise.
“Athlone is known by all the teams and it is not really a stress for them to go there‚” he said.