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Time for Kaizer Chiefs coach Zwane to copy Manchester United's ten Hag and trust the youth

4:25 PM WAT 12/01/2023
Mduduzi Shabalala, Kaizer Chiefs, August 2022
The Amakhosi mentor previously worked in the club's development ranks and therefore is perfectly placed to bring young players into the first team

Kaizer Chiefs appear to have an exciting crop of youngsters coming through; the question is now how head coach Arthur Zwane uses them.

“If they’re old enough they’re good enough” is a well-known football adage and one which previous coach Gavin Hunt applied when he placed his trust in Njabulo Blom and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, both of whom went on to become big successes and play for the national team.

Certainly it seems to be working for Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag who has been relying on 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho to bring more spark, directness and end-product to his side.

More recently he’s brought in Facundo Pellistri, who made a very exciting cameo in the cup win over Charlton Athletic.

Ten Hag has also shown that he’s willing to sacrifice high-profile players who cost the clubs lot of money if they’re not performing (such as Harry Maguire and Jaydon Sancho), and to give the younger players a chance instead.

Zwane has demonstrated in recent weeks that he’s also willing to place his faith in the new school, giving Samkelo Zwane a key responsibility in the middle of the park.

But perhaps he could do even more and give more time to someone like Mduduzi Shabalala, who clearly has the appetite for the big stage, is not fazed by the pressure, and seems to make things happen every time he plays for a few minutes.

With current wingers like Kgaogelo Sekgota and Kamohelo Mahlatsi not producing goals or assists, it may be time to consider giving Shabalala a start.

Sabelo Radebe is another talented youngster who can make things happen in midfield, though we’ve seen very little of this term – just 48 minutes.

And then there’s the teenage striker, Wandile Duba, another exciting prospect – after getting seven minutes off the bench against Golden Arrows recently, he’ll be hungry for more action.

With the league title already out of sight and heading to Mamelodi Sundowns, Zwane may as well give the young brigade more experience, starting with Friday’s PSL clash with AmaZulu.