Maritzburg College Grade 11 pupil gets PSL call-up

2012-12-13 00:00

A SCHOOL with a rich history of producing national sportsmen can now boast having their very own PSL footballer.

This after 17-year-old Bandile Shandu was called up to Maritzburg United’s 18-man match day squad for tomorrow night’s PSL clash with Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in Port Elizabeth.

Bandile, who will write matric next year, has been training with the Team of Choice for the past four months, but was only able to train full-time with the squad once he had completed his year-end exams.

He was also a member of the Maritzburg United youth academy before it stopped operating at the beginning of last year.

United coach Ernst Middendorp gave Bandile the news after yesterday morning’s training session.

“I couldn’t believe it at first; it really is a dream come true,” Bandile told The Witness last night.

“It’s started to sink in a little bit now and I have told my parents. They are both very proud. This has been my aim ever since I started playing when I was four years old.”

A member of College’s first team for the past three seasons, Bandile caught the eye of Middendorp at a school match against Carter High School earlier this year.

“We do try and look for local players to get into the team, but it’s not something that is easy,” said Middendorp. But we knew right away that there is a lot of ability here and he has the right attitude and work ethic.”

The prospect of a PSL debut against Pirates is something that young footballers dream about, but the level-headed Bandile refused to be overawed at the prospect.

“I’m not really intimidated. I think I am ready,” he said.

College first team coach and director of SoccerStarz Academy Dan Haswell said it was a proud day for the school and the region.

“He has the technique and ability to make it as a professional footballer; he is the type of player who can change a game instantly,” said Haswell.

“He has always been willing to put in more work; he is a real gem.”

While there is no guarantee that Bandile will feature tomorrow night, making the match day squad is certainly an achievement in itself. And at just 17, the future is looking bright for Pietermaritzburg’s latest footballing superstar.

• sport@witness.co.za

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