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Do Kaizer Chiefs wonderkids hold the answer? - Ntseki responds

17:36 WAT 21/12/2022
Mduduzi Shabalala, Kaizer Chiefs, August 2022
Kaizer Chiefs have turned to reserve team players as coach Arthur Zwane adjusts his squad midway through the Premier Soccer League season.
  • Zwane is keen to add more players to his squad
  • There are trialists at Naturena
  • Six young players have been promoted to the first team

WHAT HAPPENED? Zwane has already stated the need to strengthen his squad during the January player transfer window as he seeks to turnaround the club's fortunes. A few already-established players have been undergoing trials at Chiefs. But as the transfer window period approaches, a number of reserve team players have been summoned to train with the first team with the view of registering them for the second half of the season.

Already, the likes of Mduduzi Shabalala, Samkelo Zwane and Wandile Duba have been with the senior players while dribbling wizard Mfundo Vilakazi has been added to that list with a few others. Amakhosi Head of Technical and Youth Development, Molefi Ntseki explains their plans for the wonderkids.

WHAT NTSEKI SAID: “Under-17 is basically the cream of our development. A player who is 17 and older should be playing in the first team, and that's basically what you're looking for,” said Ntseki as per SABC Sport. “So, I think that is the first phase of our promotion – get quality players, train and develop them according to the requirements they have to meet when they go to the first team.

“Currently we have six players training with the first team. We have seen some of them playing in friendlies – Mdu Shabalala came in against Maritzburg [United] and scored his first goal in the PSL; we saw Zwane also play against Pirates.

“So, like I said, there's six of them currently with the first team and, even though it's holidays, already we are preparing them as professionals to say, this is your career and it's not only about having fun when everybody's working.

“So they have sacrificed their time with friends and families to train with the first team, which helps them become more mature, more confident, better tactically and technically, and that is why we see them already playing in the national teams.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: In recent seasons, Chiefs’ academy graduates have struggled to become big stars who can dominate South African football. The likes of Siyabonga Ngezana, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Happy Mashiane, Keletso Sifama and Sabelo Radebe are yet to become key players Chiefs cannot do without despite being handed playing opportunities.

It is to be seen if the new group can become influential players who can help the club come out of the shadow of Mamelodi Sundowns.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR CHIEFS YOUNGSTERS? The upcoming players are now working to convince Zwane to pick them in the squad when competitive action for Chiefs resumes on December 31 with a PSL fixture against Golden Arrows.