Young guns shape up

2017-09-27 06:02
Makhosandile Plaaitjie of the 2017 Nedbank Ke Yona Team challenges Grant Kekana of ­Supersport United during the 2017 Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge. Photo: Supplied

Makhosandile Plaaitjie of the 2017 Nedbank Ke Yona Team challenges Grant Kekana of ­Supersport United during the 2017 Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge. Photo: Supplied

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The first group of 2017 Nedbank Ke Yona Team players are hard at work at various Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs, under­going month-long trials in the hope of securing professional contracts that could shape their future.

That is after 18 players were placed with PSL teams.

The trials have been scheduled for September and October with 2017 Nedbank Cup finalists Orlando Pirates and winners SuperSport United accommodating two players each.

The Buccaneers are thrilled to be hosting goalkeeper Mduduzi Khumalo and defender and midfielder Elton Namuchua with the club dedicating a heart­warming message to the two boys on its website recently.

Khumalo was identified as one of the standout performers in the Ke Yona Challenge match against SuperSport United earlier this month, where many pundits tipped him for stardom.

SuperSport United have KwaZulu-Natal-born winger Zimele Zuma and Tembisa striker Thabang Ximba on trial. The players are rubbing shoulders with 2014 Ke Yona graduate Aubrey Aphosa Modiba and a number of Bafana Bafana inter­nationals.

Modiba has epitomised the life-altering nature of the Ke Yona initiative. The skillful and attack-minded left back has quickly made his mark in South African football and captivates with his consistent performances, scoring what turned out to be the winning goal in this year’s Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge.

Another player who put on an eye-catching display in the Ke Yona Challenge match was skipper Kamogelo “Valery Nahayo” Mogotlane who has travelled to link up with high-flying Cape Town City.

The charismatic Mpumalanga-born player expressed his delight at the opportunity.

“Nedbank has given the Ke Yona Team a great platform. I have promised myself to put my best foot forward, work hard and hopefully get a contract with a team as big as City,” Mogotlane said.

Excited by the arrival of the young defender, head coach Benni McCarthy expressed how much of a great future prospect he was.

“He is young but determined. He is a future player, a rarity, a left-footed centre-back. You hardly get them these days. Once he gets a bit more accustomed to training and playing at this level, maybe in a year’s time after being shown the ropes, he could turn into a real player,” McCarthy said.

Kaizer Chiefs is expecting 19-year-old winger Mduduzi Manyama, who is the youngest Ke Yona Team graduate from the 2017 group.

The Soweto-born Manyama has described the trial as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” which he is prepared to grab with both hands. Similarly to Amakhosi head coach, Steve Komphela, the University of Johannesburg student believes in the power of education and has committed to excelling both on the pitch and in the classroom.

The Eastern Cape’s Makhosandile “Rantie” Plaaitjie, who was voted the man of the match at the Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge after spearheading the team’s attack, will try out at the KwaZulu-Natal-based Golden Arrows.

The centre-forward is hoping to be part of the solution to the country’s goal-scoring problems, but will have to prove himself against his more experienced counterparts at Abafana Besthende.
– M-Sports Marketing


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