Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker has admitted that he is unhappy with the decision to release his Kaizer Chiefs-bound star defender and six other players.
However, Barker paid tribute to the players after announcing at the weekend that they are leaving the Winelands-based club.
Zitha Kwinika has penned a long-term deal with his boyhood team Chiefs, as reported by the Siya Crew in the latest edition of Soccer Laduma.
Barker was filled with emotion at the Danie Craven Stadium, expressing gratitude to the departing players.
“Robyn Johannes, Granwald Scott, Waseem Isaacs, Stanley Dimgba, Nathan Sinkala, Sibusiso Mthethwa and Zitha, who I think everyone is aware is going to Kaizer Chiefs, are the players that are leaving,” confirmed Barker after Stellies’ 1-0 win over Cape Town City in the Cape derby on Saturday.
“I just wanted to give the players that are departing a swansong, a bit of a run, so I am a tinge of disappointment, heartsore and sadness because of the decisions we have made [let Zwinika and co. leave]. But sometimes you have to make those decisions and hope you’ve made the right ones.
“The players can walk with their heads held high because they have left the club in a better place, and that’s all you can do as a person, as a footballer.
“I cannot speak highly enough of what they have done for this club. So as much as we are happy, we are sad at the same time. They all can continue playing, and one or two of them have already got offers around.
Barker added, “We have to start a new cycle, a couple of our young players [who won the DStv Diski Challenge with the Stellies reverse team] will be rewarded with first-team call ups, and we are active in the market to continue strengthening the squad.
“We put a lot of effort and energy in the DDC because you want to create a culture where you win things,” concluded Barker.