When the 2019/20 Absa Premiership campaign resumed last month following the prolonged national lockdown, more than 20 young MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) players reported for duty in the senior teams of the top 16 PSL clubs, making their dreams a reality.
It has been six years since the MDC was launched, and the PSL clubs continue to reap the rewards of this innovative programme.
The Diski Challenge has been instrumental in helping some of the country’s finest young footballers achieve their career aspirations. Also, the programme ensures that there is a growing pool of talented players to strengthen the Premiership teams.
Despite the season’s early end – only 204 of the 240 scheduled matches were played – the MDC numbers show a solid contribution to the country’s professional teams.
“It is fitting that Africa’s most loved storyteller has a hand in building the future of Africa’s most loved sport.”
MultiChoice spent close to R70 million on the Diski Challenge this season.
The innovative programme prepares fledgling players for a career in football, while creating a platform for them to compete with the best and show off their skills to hungry talent scouts, who are now putting their faith in the talented players emerging from it.
Mamelodi Sundowns have two players in their squad from the Diski Challenge – Promise Mkhuma and Malebogo Modise.
Mkhuma made an appearance in four matches and spent 225 minutes on the field in Sundowns’ journey to their historic tenth league title.
“I am excited about being part of a winning team in my first season since joining Sundowns in December,” said Mkhuma.
“It is exciting to know that I am going to win more trophies with the club; this is the first of many to come.”
Bidvest Wits finished their season with 10 players who were originally part of the squad that dominated the Diski Challenge before it was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic in March. Wits had the likes of Rowan Lancaster Human and Keenan Phillips, who have both represented the country in the Under-20 national team.
Human proved to be one of the star players in the bio-bubble (one of the bio-safe environment initiatives put in place by the PSL to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection for players and staff).
He clocked up the most time on the field – a total of 561 minutes –and was over the moon when he scored one of the two goals that gave Bidvest Wits their 2-1 win against AmaZulu at FNB Stadium.
“Scoring my first goal felt indescribable,” Human said.
“I was excited, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I couldn’t stop smiling. It felt so good to score my first professional goal,” he said.
Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs had the youngest Diski Challenge player in the bio-bubble.
Keletso Sifama (17) was thrilled to make his debut when Chiefs defeated Polokwane City 3-2.
Since the 2019/20 PSL campaign started last year, 16 clubs in the league have had at least three Diski Challenge players appearing regularly on the field.
This proves that the Diski Challenge is playing a pivotal role in nurturing the country’s future soccer stars.