Battle of the Barkers: UP versus Wits

2013-05-01 09:52

The Absa Premiership confrontation between the University of Pretoria and Bidvest Wits tonight will extend beyond the rivalry between the two university clubs.

It will be the battle between the Barkers: AmaTuks’ coach Steve Barker and his uncle, Clive Barker, of Wits.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Steve ahead of the clash that kicks off at 7.30pm at Tuks Stadium.

“I’m relishing the challenge, because I never really imagined that one day I would come up against Clive as a coach. It was really a good thing for him to come back to coaching.”

Clive chipped in: “It is going to be a wonderful day for us. My nephew is a wonderful coach and his parents are very proud of what he has achieved so far. I am proud of him too.”

Steve, who entered the big-time football coaching scene in 2006, guided AmaTuks to the Nedbank Cup final in 2009 and to promotion last season.

Clive guided Bafana Bafana to the 1996 Afcon title and returned to club coaching in January after spending time as a technical director at AmaZulu.

But things are not rosy for the man known as the “The Dog” as his team is still coming to terms with the injury-ravaged goalkeepers’ department.

Emile Baron broke his leg during the Clever Boys’ 1-0 loss to Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

The setback came at the back of injuries to other goalies after Jackson Mabokgwane (knee injury), Ryan Harrison (fractured finger) and Steven Hoffman (broken ankle) were all confined to the casualty ward at the club.

The only available keeper for Wits is 17-year-old Jethren Barr, who replaced Baron in the closing minutes of the Pirates game.

This has prompted Wits to register goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse as backup, while the club was on the verge of recalling Jacob Mokhasi.

With just two wins in 10 matches at their campus venue so far this season, Steve said his injury-free AmaTuks squad will give it another go at maximum points to enhance their bid for top-eight qualification.

“It is going to be tough for both teams, and Wits are not an easy side to beat. It is important that we get the three points.”

The Pretoria-based side is placed eighth on the Premiership log while Wits is ranked two places above them.

The two sides yielded a goalless draw in their first-round meeting in December.

Other Absa Premiership fixtures today:

»?Ajax Cape Town vs Kaizer Chiefs (Cape Town Stadium, 5pm)

»?Moroka Swallows vs Golden Arrows (Dobsonville Stadium, 7.30pm)

»?AmaZulu vs Black Leopards (Princess Magogo Stadium, 7.30pm)

»?Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United (Royal Bafokeng Stadium, 7.30pm)

»?Bloemfontein Celtic vs SuperSport United (Free State Stadium, 7.30pm)

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