THE BREAKDOWN: Dolly, Gordinho & Keet – Who Developed Them?
How can you tell which club can take credit for a player's development?
A major point of pride for any team is their ability to develop stars of the game and in the breakdown today, we analyse the complexities involved in youth development.
Last weekend, we discussed the stars that have emerged from various clubs and readers took to social media to contest the claim that Darren Keet is a Bidvest Wits youth product.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper, who was part of Bidvest Wits’ 2016/17 Absa Premiership title-winning team, was part of Ajax Cape Town’s youth setup, having first played at amateur club’s Bothasig and Edgemead, before rising to prominence at Vasco Da Gama (now Stellenbosch FC) in the NFD.
His performances earned him a transfer to Bidvest Wits in 2008, after which he moved to KV Kortrijk in Belgium. Having returned to Wits at the beginning of the 2016/17 season and he can now call himself a PSL champion. However, considering that Wits were the team to hand him his PSL debut in 2008, would that mean they can claim that he rose through their ranks?
Would it be Vasco da Gama who can stake claim to his development, having handed him his professional debut? And is there a case for Ajax Cape Town, who oversaw the early stages of his development, before discarding him? According to the player himself, he believes that credit must be given to the amateur clubs, Edgemead and Bothasig, that he first started to make a name for himself at.
There are several other players to have risen to prominence in the PSL and have similarly ambiguous youth careers. One of those examples is Montpellier and Bafana Bafana star, Keagan Dolly, who began his career at Westbury Arsenal, before joining Mamelodi Sundowns, making a name for himself at Ajax Cape Town and then return to Sundowns where he rose to stardom.
Another example of this complicated process is Kaizer Chiefs’ Lorenzo Gordinho, who emerged through Orlando Pirates’ junior ranks, before moving to Chiefs’ youth team and eventually making his PSL debut for Chiefs in the 2013/14 Absa Premiership season.
The problem is also not uniquely South African, with other examples coming in the form of Cameroonian legend, Samuel Eto’o, who started his career in his home country at Kadji Sport Academies, prior to a move to Real Madrid in 1997. He eventually joined Real Mallorca before joining Barcelona in 2004, where he earned superstar status and the rest is history…
The question, therefore, is how do you determine which team can take credit for each player’s youth development? Is it the club that handed him his debut, or the club that spotted him long before he made his senior debut? What ages are considered to be the most important in terms of a player’s development? We’ll leave the answer to you, the reader…
How do you determine which club deserves to take credit for a player’s youth development? Let us know in the comments section below, or let us know on social media. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Soccer_Laduma.