Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker has discussed the possibility of losing his key players Junior Mendieta and Sibongiseni Mthethwa this winter.
As SSNEWS reported in February this year, Kaizer Chiefs are interested in signing the Argentine playmaker in the upcoming South African winter transfer window.
While Sibongiseni Mthethwa has been one of the best midfielders in the PSL this season which has seen him receive his maiden Bafana Bafana call-up and he has been strongly linked with Amakhosi.
“It’s been made clear that we must do everything to keep our best players,” Barker told the reporters.
“It wouldn’t make sense for us to go into a new cycle. At the end of last season, we basically started a new cycle with a lot of young players and a lot of incomings [and] to now sort of break that.
“So, the next season or season beyond, we want to keep the team together and achieve things as a team,” he said.
“I think with the young players getting better over the next year or two and retaining [them] and maybe here and there adding a player, it will allow the team to continue to achieve its objective.”
STELLIES OPEN TO SELLING TO EUROPEAN CLUBS: “So, the message is that we are not here to lose our best players. Maybe on the odd occasion, you get an offer,” Barker continued.
We’re not going to stand in the way when a European team comes in for one of our players, and he’s got an opportunity to play at a higher level. We’re not that club that will say ‘no’.
“But we’re not going to just let go locally if they can continue to be successful and achieve things with us.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mendieta initially joined Stellies on loan from Argentinian club Atletico Lanus on loan in the 2020-21 season and the Western Cape side purchased the skillful player at the end of the campaign.
While Mthethwa was snapped up by Stellenbosch from Black Leopards midway through last season and the 28-year-old has been playing some of his best football this term.
Mendieta and Mthethwa are both contracted to Stellies until June 2024.