Mul­ti­choice Diski Chal­lenge a perfect show­case for up-and-com­ing young tal­ent

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT - MIHLALI BALEKA

THE Mul­ti­Choice Diski Chal­lege is prov­ing to be ben­e­fi­cial to the en­tire South African Foot­ball fra­ter­nity. Dur­ing the last cam­paign his­tory was made as PSL club Plat­inum Stars was coached by a fe­male, Ke­leabetswe Diale. Diale led Dik­wena’s re­serve team to 13th po­si­tion on the log stand­ings with 14 points after 15 games.

After her first sea­son in an in­dus­try where she’s the only sheep among jack­als, coach Diale talks about her ground-break­ing mo­ment.

“It was tough, we didn’t do well, “re­flects Diale. “I have not given up though, I am look­ing for­ward to this sea­son, es­pe­cially kick­ing off the cam­paign against Su­perS­port United hav­ing played to a goal­less draw last sea­son.’’

Diale’s sec­ond stint with the side will progress with­out star player Kobamelo Kodisang, who signed for Bid­vest Wits dur­ing the trans­fer win­dow.

De­spite los­ing one of her star play­ers, the 35-year-old is con­fi­dent of a bet­ter out­come this sea­son though.

“It was a big blow los­ing him (Kodisang) but we wish him well in his en­deav­our. We have a squad that is well-bal­anced and we should be able to fight for a bet­ter po­si­tion this sea­son.’’

The re­serve league side’s am­bi­tions’ have got big­ger and bet­ter. Mamelodi Sun­downs put in a stel­lar per­for­mance last cam­paign, win­ning both tro­phies that were up for grabs; Mul­ti­Choice Diski Chal­lenge and Mul­ti­Choice In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge.

The Brazil­ians’ coach David No­toane has noth­ing but praise for his team’s tri­umphs last sea­son.

“It was a very suc­cess­ful cam­paign. To go to the Nether­lands and come back vic­to­ri­ous back was a cherry on top,” No­toane said.

“We wanted to change the mis­takes of the past two sea­sons, where we didn’t win. The feel­ing of los­ing out twice on the tro­phy was not a good one at all.”

The Downs’ de­vel­op­ment coach stresses the im­por­tance of pick­ing up where they left off last cam­paign.

“Com­ing to the new sea­son we have clear ob­jec­tives as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous cam­paign, we just want to win it.”

“We ob­vi­ously want to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing. We will be bring­ing in more play­ers around the ages of 18 and 19, play them with the se­nior guys, so as to let get them ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­po­sure,” No­toane said.

“Last sea­son we re­ally did well, as a re­sult we had three play­ers who were pro­moted to the first team –Mot­jeka Madisha, Keletso Mak­galwa and Thendo Mukumela.

“This sea­son we also have ex­cit­ing tal­ent to work with, play­ers like Khulekani Khubeka (who’s been train­ing with the first team), Siph­e­sihle Mkhize, Prom­ise Mkhumba, Mu­sawenkosi Md­luli and Mole­boga Modise. Th­ese are the fu­ture stars of the club, as the first team play­ers won’t play for­ever.”

With Wits’ se­nior team prov­ing to be the win­ners of the Premier­ship in the 2016/2017 sea­son, it is no sur­prise that the club’s re­serve side will be look­ing to fol­low in the foot­steps of the se­niors this cam­paign.

“The Stu­dents’ MDC side fin­ished sixth po­si­tion last cam­paign, and coach Glen Salmon has eval­u­ated the var­i­ous mis­for­tunes his side suf­fered.

“It was frus­trat­ing, we should have been fight­ing for that num­ber one spot. We played with a young squad who ob­vi­ously make mis­takes now and again,” Salmon said.

The 39-year-old for­mer Bafana striker isn’t dwelling on the past cam­paign, but is con­cen­trat­ing on the task that lies ahead.

“We will have even a younger squad this sea­son. Our plan is to de­velop the boys as much as we can. Win­ning the MDC is not a pri­or­ity with us but we can’t rule out the mind­set of win­ning it.”

After the grad­u­a­tion of Reeve Frosler into the first team, Salmon states that his camp is still filled with a lot of as­pir­ing tal­ent, with play­ers like Ge­orge Mat­lou, Sizwe Twala and Jaimie Craack key in this plans.

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