Teenage trio blazes trail

2015-09-01 06:00

A trio of teens have set their sights on achieving greater heights, following their participation in the Durban international u.19 tournament recently.

Aghmat Ceres, Darren Johnson and Shane Saralina, who are all 18 years old and play for Ajax Cape Town, were selected and played for the South African u.19 team, who obtained a third-place finish at the tournament.

South Africa’s best young soccer players lined up against six international teams, namely AC Milan, Arsenal, Celtic FC, Galatasaray SK, PSV Eindhoven and VfB Stuttgart, while a KZN academy also took part in the high-profile event.

Saralina is from Mitchell’s Plain and said that even though this was his second call-up to the national side, he obtained valuable experience in Durban.

“It was a great experience there (in Durban). We were together for a few weeks, but it wasn’t easy for players who came together so suddenly,” he said.

The Portlands High School pupil played every match in which his team participated in and although he plays at left-back for his club, he was employed as one of the mainstays in the heart of South Africa’s defence. Saralina was grateful for the opportunity to show off his talent to both the local and international scouts at the tournament, with a view to hopefully secure a lucrative PSL contract.

“Other clubs looked at me and the potential that I have to play PSL. I want to play PSL, but first the Diski (Challenge) and then PSL.”

Ceres is from Grassy Park and thrived in the engine room of the team, playing in central midfield.

“To me it was a great experience playing against the best in the world. It’s tough, but I played with a host of good players. The highlight for me was scoring for my country on debut. You can’t describe the feeling; it’s a nice feeling to have in that moment.”

Ceres’s debut goal helped the team to a 2-0 win over AC Milan. Despite being diminutive in size, he is not lacking in passion and verve, especially when faced with the challenge of playing against some of the world’s elite.

“You are playing against bigger European opposition,” said Ceres.

“They are fit, they are strong and clever, and so you just have to try to compete with them. You have to be clever, quick and just don’t let them touch you!”

Meanwhile, Johnson, a goalkeeper, only hoped that this was the start of a long and illustrious career in soccer. He hopes to emulate Manchester United’s Spanish shot stopper, David de Gea, in the future.

“All of the experience I got from national duty, I am bringing back home and developing my style of play. I started as a centre back, but changed to goal-keeping by heart, because I love that position.”

Johnson was hardly surprised by his inclusion in the national setup, despite it being his first time representing his country, but maintained that had he not been called up, it would not have been the end of the world for him.

“I still have a whole career ahead of me, so I should look forward to being called up more often, so this (representing South Africa) is actually driving me to be called up more often.”

Johnson says he has a contract with Ajax’s senior team and plays in the Vodacom League as well as the MultiChoice Diski Challenge team. He urges other young soccer players to work hard and keep aspiring to chase their dreams.

Ceres backed up Johnson’s view that hard work will pay dividends and that talent alone may not always be enough, something Ceres is all too aware of.

“I think if I just work hard and show the coaches what I can do. You know, you just need some luck and when you get the opportunity, you must take it.

“You just need to work hard, keep your eye on the prize. Hard work beats talent, so there might be a better player than you, but if you work hard you will get somewhere.”

A trio of teens have set their sights on achieving greater heights, following their participation in the Durban international u.19 tournament recently.

Aghmat Ceres, Darren Johnson and Shane Saralina, who are all 18 years old and play for Ajax Cape Town, were selected and played for the South African u.19 team, who obtained a third-place finish at the tournament.

South Africa’s best young soccer players lined up against six international teams, namely AC Milan, Arsenal, Celtic FC, Galatasaray SK, PSV Eindhoven and VfB Stuttgart, while a KZN academy also took part in the high-profile event.

Saralina is from Mitchell’s Plain and said that even though this was his second call-up to the national side, he obtained valuable experience in Durban.

“It was a great experience there (in Durban). We were together for a few weeks, but it wasn’t easy for players who came together so suddenly,” he said.

The Portlands High School pupil played every match in which his team participated in and although he plays at left-back for his club, he was employed as one of the mainstays in the heart of South Africa’s defence. Saralina was grateful for the opportunity to show off his talent to both the local and international scouts at the tournament, with a view to hopefully secure a lucrative PSL contract.

“Other clubs looked at me and the potential that I have to play PSL. I want to play PSL, but first the Diski (Challenge) and then PSL.”

Ceres is from Grassy Park and thrived in the engine room of the team, playing in central midfield.

“To me it was a great experience playing against the best in the world. It’s tough, but I played with a host of good players. The highlight for me was scoring for my country on debut. You can’t describe the feeling; it’s a nice feeling to have in that moment.”

Ceres’s debut goal helped the team to a 2-0 win over AC Milan. Despite being diminutive in size, he is not lacking in passion and verve, especially when faced with the challenge of playing against some of the world’s elite.

“You are playing against bigger European opposition,” said Ceres.

“They are fit, they are strong and clever, and so you just have to try to compete with them. You have to be clever, quick and just don’t let them touch you!”

Meanwhile, Johnson, a goalkeeper, only hoped that this was the start of a long and illustrious career in soccer. He hopes to emulate Manchester United’s Spanish shot stopper, David de Gea, in the future.

“All of the experience I got from national duty, I am bringing back home and developing my style of play. I started as a centre back, but changed to goal-keeping by heart, because I love that position.”

Johnson was hardly surprised by his inclusion in the national setup, despite it being his first time representing his country, but maintained that had he not been called up, it would not have been the end of the world for him.

“I still have a whole career ahead of me, so I should look forward to being called up more often, so this (representing South Africa) is actually driving me to be called up more often.”

Johnson says he has a contract with Ajax’s senior team and plays in the Vodacom League as well as the MultiChoice Diski Challenge team. He urges other young soccer players to work hard and keep aspiring to chase their dreams.

Ceres backed up Johnson’s view that hard work will pay dividends and that talent alone may not always be enough, something Ceres is all too aware of.

“I think if I just work hard and show the coaches what I can do. You know, you just need some luck and when you get the opportunity, you must take it.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.