Reunion of ‘Clever Boys’ at Pirates ship

2012-09-15 19:29

An ardent fan of development, De Sa will keep an eye on young stars

Roger de Sa’s arrival aboard the Orlando Pirates ship as the club’s new coach this week meant a reunion with three of his former charges at Bidvest Wits.

“In life you never know when you’ll get to meet your old friends again and it’s amazing that I am back in the same dressing-room as these boys again,” said De Sa of former “Clever Boys” Sifiso Myeni, Patrick Phungwayo and Lehlogonolo Masalesa.

Myeni joined the double treble champions last season while the other pair came on board at the start of the current campaign.

“We made good friends in the few seasons I worked with them at Wits. They are all special players.”

De Sa handed Myeni and Phungwayo their big break in the professional ranks during the 2008/9 season, when the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach had just rejoined Wits from Santos two seasons earlier.

Said De Sa: “Myeni was brought to Wits by Archie “Juluka” Hadebe (former AmaZulu midfielder during the 80s) and I looked at him (Myeni) and asked myself ‘is this boy a footballer?’ But Sifiso trained with us that day and did amazing things with the ball.

“The registration window was closed but I convinced our general manager at the time, Derek Blanckensee (now PSL football general manager) to sign him even though the player was not going to be part of the senior team for five months.

"He proved his worth and I even made him captain.”

De Sa said he spotted Phungwayo when the roving 24-year-old fullback was still with the Africa Sport Youth Development Academy, co-founded by Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Harold “Jazzy Queen” Legodi.

“We used to play friendly games against them and I liked what I saw in his play,” said De Sa of the Alexandra township-born lad.

Myeni, also 24, and Phungwayo arrived at Wits when De Sa was in the rebuilding phase that was mostly driven by a group of novices – and helped Wits to the 2010 Nedbank Cup triumph.

“Sifiso and Patrick have raised their game at Pirates and I believe Vieira (Masalesa) also has an important role to play.

“Masalesa is tall and doesn’t give the ball away too easily. He is a humble kid who will learn the ropes from the quality that we have,” said De Sa of the man nicknamed after the former France and Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira.

Masalesa, the former SA Under-20 captain, is also from Legodi’s academy, which also helped in the development of Oupa Manyisa.

An ardent fan of development, De Sa said he won’t overlook worthy talent in the Pirates’ development structures.

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