Kaizer Chiefs have explained the process they went through to promote the 17-year-old wonderkid Mduduzi Shabalala to the first team. The young forward was unveiled alongside new signings yesterday – Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Lehlogonolo Matlou, Dillon Solomons, Siyethemba Sithebe, Ashley Du Preez, and Zitha Kwinika.
In recent years, Chiefs have been promoting many players from their Academy side and this has encouraged the upcoming youngsters in Naturena to follow the steps of their teammates. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Njabulo Blom, Siyabonga Ngezana, Happy Mashiane and Sabelo Radebe are among the shining stars that are Chiefs’ home made.
Head of Technical and Youth Development Academy at Chiefs Molefi Ntseki believes Shabalala has what it takes to fit in the first team. “A staff audit was done in the junior team to look at what we have, what we lack, and the type of players we need to bring in. This is because in projecting the future, you need to start with development,” Ntseki told the media at FNB Stadium.
“There, you need to estimate the physical height of players, the tactical projections with the players you bring in. You then do that by looking at the needs of the first team. And one of the needs in the technical team is quality players. We can pride ourselves in having a player like Mdu Shabalala who played in the Compact Cup and has played in the national team.”
The former Bafana Bafana coach also took the media through the process of promoting the player to the first team. “At Kaizer Chiefs development, the approach is you either you retain because the player still qualifies and has the qualities to play in that same age group, you release because the player when you do your projection doesn’t give you the qualities that you are looking for, you promote because the qualities required to go into the next level are there.”
“So we have done the same in the past with the likes of Njabulo Blom, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Sabelo Rabede, Siyabonga Ngezana and Bruce Bvuma. You can see the direction we are taking. We are informed by the trends and requirements for the first team,” headded
It all seems like Zwane wants an average of under 30 years of age in his squad as he believes more in the youngsters. Most of the already promoted players at Chiefs have worked with ” 10111″ before, and understand his style of play and philosophy which would make it even more easier to adapt under his leadership.
Chiefs have released 12 players in total and mean business in making a spring cleaning ahead of the upcoming season. They have never won a trophy in the last seven years and with all the quality signings they’ve made so far, the pressure is on Zwane to turn their fortunes around.