AFTER passing matric, Bandile Shandu and Ayren Bond are about to hit the ground running as they aim to become first team regulars at Maritzburg United. The two 18-year-olds are fresh off the production line that gave the world the likes of Joel Stransky, Jonty Rhodes, Kevin Pietersen, Butch James and David Miller — Maritzburg College. Team of Choice midfielder Shandu, who made his PSL debut for the club as a 17-year-old Grade 11 boy two years ago, now hopes to see his former class-mate Bond, Ayren Bond, make his entrance. Bond, speaking to The Witness yesterday, said he was happy with his matric results. “The exams went well for me. I got an A for life orientation. I’m happy with how they went, but maths paper two was a bit tough,” he said after the team’s training session. Due to school commitments last year, Bond, a right back, could only train with the team in the afternoons. But, since completing exams, the youngster has made the transition from College to United and has been able to devote all of his time to football and train with the team twice a day. “Right now, I’m trying to push myself to the limit to get into the first team,” he said. For Bond, watching his fellow College Old Boy Shandu play in the team has been a motivating factor. Shandu started United’s 2-2 draw against Pretoria super-club Mamelodi Sundowns. “A lot of people dream of playing in the PSL, and that’s what I want to achieve,” Bond said, adding that he would ultimately like to play in the Champions League and for Bafana Bafana one day. He was also happy to find himself playing under new coach Steve Komphela who joined United earlier this week following the sacking of Clinton Larsen. “He’s inspirational. He pushes all the players to their limits and we’re happy he’s here.” Having played under German Ernst Middendorp, Larsen and now Komphela, Shandu was happy to be under the former Bafana Bafana skipper and caretaker coach. “The man is huge. I’m willing to take in everything he says. He’s worked with big players in the past and it’s an honour to be playing under him,” Shandu told The Witness. The former College skipper, who claimed two As — for Zulu and life orientation — was focused on improving and cementing his place in the starting eleven. Like Bond, he trains twice daily with the squad with his schooling behind him. “I’ve seen an improvement in my game from training full-time with the squad. I think I did great against Sundowns, but there is room for improvement,” he said. His only other start in the Premiership came the previous season in a home game played at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against Sundowns. Being the experienced old head amongst the other youngsters in the side, who also include current College boy Ryan Moon, Shandu said he had motivated them to follow in his footsteps. “I have been encouraging them, but it all depends on the work you put in. My goal is to play regularly. It’s going to be tough as there are a lot of quality players but I’m willing to put in the extra effort,” he said. The two were happy to continue College’s tradition of Old Boys excelling on the sports field. “A lot of sporting greats have come through College. We’re happy we’re flying the College flag,” said Bond.