Stellenbosch go into the break in fourth place on the league table, but with a game in hand on the two sides immediately ahead of them. They also won the Carling Knockout Trophy.

Coach Barker says they are planning for big things in the second part of the season and that the recess afforded by AFCON will form a key part to how they go when play resumes again in mid-February.

Speaking to the Sowetan Barker said: “We have a lot of ambitions as a football club… we want to be challenging at the top end of the table, so it’s important that we regroup and resume the season really strongly.

“We knew from the beginning of the season that during Afcon there would be a break, so we planned all our sort of periodisation that we almost look at this one season as two seasons.

“The second half of the season will be like a new season… there’s a lot to play for in the second half of the season.

“The AFCON will be a good rest for the players because we had a busy couple of months, so our players deserve a good break… they will have a good 10 to 12 days off and then we will come back to regroup and continue to work hard.

“It will be good for us to regenerate and be fresh,” he said.

Stellenbosch have just one player absent on AFCON duty with midfielder Jayden Adams the only player called up.

When the domestic season resumes, Stellenbosch will return to action by hosting AmaZulu on 13 February.