A new home for PSL’s past players

2014-10-19 15:00

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The inaugural MultiChoice Diski Challenge is where to find some of the Absa Premiership’s almost-forgotten players, writes Daniel Mothowagae

What do Tlou Segolela, Rooi Mahamutsa, Khethokwakhe Masuku (all Orlando Pirates) and Josta Dladla (Kaizer Chiefs) have in common?

They are just some of the prominent Premiership names who have been getting game time in the reserve league.

The group has found its way into the developmental league thanks to the rule that allows teams to field three over-age players on match days.

The 16-team league – divided into two groups of eight – was initially tailored for players who were younger than 19, but the ceiling was lifted to 23.

Some of the development coaches are critical of this aspect, while some of their Premiership counterparts benefit directly from the league.

Three junior coaches from top PSL teams, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was unfair for young players to be competing for places in the reserve teams with senior players.

Ajax Cape Town coach Roger De Sa said their reserve team had only used six players from the Urban Warriors’ senior team so far.

“It has been good to us as we use it mainly to prepare our young players,” De Sa told City Press.

The Ajax juniors host University of Pretoria at the Cape Town Stadium at noon today in a match that will serve as a curtain-raiser for the Premiership clash between the Ajax senior side and Kaizer Chiefs.

The Chiefs reserves – guided by Ace Khuse – will face Polokwane City at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto (see box for all the fixtures).

Amakhosi senior coach Stuart Baxter used a few of the club’s reserve squad players for the senior team’s game against Bloemfontein Celtic during the Macufe Cup last weekend.

A few of the professional Chiefs players who have also featured regularly in the reserve league are Reyaad Pieterse, Lorenzo Gordinho and Matthew Rusike.

Elsewhere, KwaZulu-Natal sides Maritzburg United and AmaZulu are just two of the teams who have mainly used players under the age of 19. North West team Platinum Stars have also done the same.

Last Sunday, Stars coach Willem Jackson fielded 15-year-old Kobamelo Kodisang.

The talented teenager scored two goals that sunk a Pirates side which had former Bafana Bafana defender Mahamutsa on board.

Speaking about the importance of the reserve league, Jackson said: “The last time a 15 year old started in the PSL was at Ajax Cape Town a few years ago.

“We need that back again,” he said.

After this weekend’s matches, Diski Challenge will near the completion of the group stage with one match left to decide the quarterfinalists.

The top four from each group will advance to the knockout stage.

General manager of football at the Premier Soccer League, Derek Blanckensee, said the reserve league had gone “excellently well, especially because this [season] has been the first year”.

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