Papu sets the tone for his young brigade

Daily Dispatch - - SPORT - Mfun­dop@dis­patch.co.za

East­ern Cape SAB league U21 team Samnkelo “Sco­lari” Papu says go­ing to the SAB League U21 na­tional cham­pi­onships might seem a mis­sion im­pos­si­ble, but he’s ca­pa­ble of guid­ing the prov­ince out of the group stages.

The pro­vin­cial side couldn’t hold a train­ing camp for the 18 play­ers who were cho­sen from seven re­gions due to fi­nan­cial con­straints ex­pe­ri­enced by the pro­vin­cial SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) of­fice – which is re­spon­si­ble for the team.

But their newly ap­pointed coach, Papu, was not in­ter­ested in dwelling on the mat­ter, and said that coaches must stop mak­ing such ex­cuses.

Papu, a qual­i­fied per­for­mance an­a­lyst, said be­ing at the Na­tional First Divi­sion play­offs re­cently held in Lim­popo with the ABC Mot­sepe Foun­da­tion tech­ni­cal study group, along­side for­mer Mthatha City men­tor, Nkush Mal­gas, would help him to map out his game­plans.

“For the past three sea­sons, I’ve at­tended the play­offs with the study group, and that’s where we came up with the for­mat that is be­ing used by Safa.

“And I be­lieve that if we pre­pare thor­oughly with the short time we’ll have as a team, we can be suc­cess­ful in this tour­na­ment. “So I won’t be speak­ing about the camp or any­thing else like that, be­cause the main fo­cus now is to go there and try our best,” said Papu.

The Fort Hare Univer­sity foot­ball first as­sis­tant coach said hav­ing been at the Univer­sity Sports South Africa (USSA) tour­na­ment that was held at the Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity in Port El­iz­a­beth last week would help him in plan­ning for their mis­sion.

“So for us now is to tackle the task at hand, but we need to set our minds to that and ours is to give these young boys a chance to show­case their tal­ents, be­cause scouts from all over the coun­try will be watch­ing them.

“Be­cause our mis­sion is to get out of the group stages, and from what I’ve gath­ered now we can achieve that.

“We are not the only team that went to a na­tional stage with­out hav­ing a train­ing camp.

“I’m sure you’ve heard Stu­art Baxter com­plain­ing about the re­lease of play­ers late for the na­tional team camps.

“And many would say it might be mis­sion im­pos­si­ble, but I want to try and fin­ish in a bet­ter po­si­tion than last year’s group.”

The prov­ince was drawn in Group B along­side USSA, Lim­popo, West­ern Cape, North West, and East­ern Cape.

“I was watch­ing USSA last week, and see­ing them play was a good one for me.

“I know their style of play and I also saw teams from Lim­popo who’s also in our group, and I’m con­fi­dent I can counter the way they play.

“I also watched their neigh­bours, Dol­phins, at the play­offs in Polok­wane last month. I know how Lim­popo will be com­ing to us.

“So I’m busy re­view­ing video footage from the ABC Mot­sepe League play­offs and USSA games, and the coach­ing at this level might be new to me, but I’m def­i­nitely ready and so will be the boys.”

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