Zwane: Homegrown is best
Kaizer Chiefs Reserve team coach Arthur '10111' Zwane believes the best solution for a sustainable and successful future is to nurture the exciting young talent within the Amakhosi development ranks.
Club legend Zwane led the Chiefs reserves to a 3-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in Tembisa on Saturday to win the inaugural Diski Shield in front of a packed house at the Makhulong Stadium, thanks to goals from Katlego Ntsabeleng, Yusuf Bunting and Given Thibedi.
The former Glamour Boys winger was naturally proud of his players' achievement and says it's important now for them to back themselves to go on and play for the first team, like players such as Wiseman Meyiwa, Siyabonga Ngezana and Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya have done this season. Emmanuel Letlotlo is another one, but he has unfortunately been set back by long-term injury.
Zwane also believes that a youngster who has grown up immersed in the Kaizer Chiefs culture will have a better chance at making an impact in the PSL team than one brought in from the outside.
"A player that didn't grow up within the development structures of Chiefs is not the same as a player who grew up at Chiefs," he told Isolezwe.
"The players that I am coaching need to believe in themselves once they play for the first team. We are wasting money by buying players that didn't grow up at Chiefs and get there and fail to make an impact. A way for the club to save money is to develop our own players."
The 44-year-old Zwane also paid tribute to the influence that former head coach Steve Komphela had in shaping the up-and-coming young stars.
"People might not see it now, but what coach Steve Komphela has done for this team in terms of helping the youngsters is far beyond measure," he told the Star.
"What he has done for this team is big. People might have not have seen it now, but later they'll definitely see it."
Skill and ability alone is seldom enough for a player to make it to the professional ranks – mind-set and attitude are key attributes, and in this regard, Zwane is very pleased with the response from his team.
"During the tournament, I said to the boys; this (the Diski Shield competition) will test our true character. I told them this will test whether they are good enough to play for Kaizer Chiefs or whether, they are a bunch of ordinary players.
"They responded and said 'they'll know us very well coach'," Zwane continued, "I then told them, that's the kind of attitude I want; the culture of this team is about winning, and I knew we would win, because I predicted that playing five games is our chance to showcase what we are made of. I am really glad the boys came to the party.
"I didn't see any team that would come and match us (in terms of the style of play). We have boys who are very quick going forward and who are comfortable on the ball," he added.
So who are some of the players to watch out for?
"Yusuf Bunting (a 22-year-old striker who scored four goals in the tournament) was instrumental in terms of leading the goal scoring role," Zwane explained.
"In fact all the players came through. Itumeleng Shopane (striker, 20), Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya (left-back, 21), Brylon Pertersen (goalkeeper, 22), Given Thibedi (right-back, 20) and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (attacking midfielder, 18) were all marvellous.
"The chemistry in the team is very strong and we are continuing to build them for the future. Tristan Moses (central defender, 20) and Njabulo Blom (central defender, 18), the list goes on. We have a group of players that will be ready to take up first team responsibilities in the future," Zwane concluded.