Daily News

Zwane working to keep Shabalala & Co grounded

- SMISO MSOMI smiso.msomi@inl.co.za

KAIZER Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane has warned against over-hyping emerging South African stars following another impressive showing by Mduduzi Shabalala.

The 19-year-old sensation was pulled off in the 63rd minute of play as Chiefs beat Richards Bay to keep themselves in contention for a place in the CAF Champions League.

The Chiefs Academy graduate had already made his mark on the game, as he provided a delightful assist for Siyabonga Ngezana for the only goal of the match, before going on to entertain with his impressive passing, dribbling and decisivene­ss.

But Zwane has cautioned praising ‘Mdu like I do’ too much and acknowledg­ed the work done by the young forward’s support system off the field.

“Yes, we share ideas with his father, he comes from a very good background, so they’re helping us. But the challenge is, it’s not only Mdu, these are the challenges most of our talented players are facing,” Zwane said.

“The way we hype them up and we end up saying things we shouldn’t be saying, and as soon as they hear those things, sometimes they start thinking they have arrived.”

Mdu is currently counted amongst the best youngsters strutting their stuff in the Dstv Premiershi­p, with two goals and an assist to his name in his debut campaign.

The likes of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Cassius Mailula, Orlando Pirates’ Thabiso Monyane and Thapelo Maseko of Supersport United have also shown they can battle with the big boys this season.

Zwane also opened up about the kind of structures Chiefs have in place to ensure that players are psychologi­cally prepared to perform on a regular basis.

“Luckily with us, we have a system that’s there to help these players,” revealed Zwane.

“It’s a matter of a player now making a choice, with the system the team has, we have psychologi­sts, we sometimes go for diversity sessions where they discuss their individual problems, like any other person, it doesn’t mean if you’re a coach or a soccer player you don’t have your own personal problems.

“So the team has played a huge role that when we come to work, we come to work in the right frame of mind, always positive and always willing and eager to perform, so everything boils down to one thing, you as a player – do you want it?

“If you want it, you will go for it.”

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