Palacios On Foster: Breath Of Fresh Air For SA Football
Lyle Foster’s Progress At Orlando Pirates Lauded
Orlando Pirates Head of Youth, Augusto Palacios, has heaped praise on the team’s young star, Lyle Foster, for the progress he has made in his career.
The 17-year-old young striker, who was promoted to the Pirates first team last month, has been slowly making progress in Bucs’ senior side as he has been getting game time under Coach Milutin Sredojevic.
“He is a hard worker and I’ve always known that he was going to earn promotion to the senior team at an early age, like Lebohang Mokoena and the late Gift Leremi. Recently, we (Orlando Pirates) seemed to have lost the culture of developing players and then sending them to the first team at an early age. I remember when Pirates closed their development structures, I opened my academy and all the players who are at Pirates’ development now are coming from there. He is a very good striker. He can hold the ball, he can protect the ball and he can supply the ball to his teammates. Most importantly, he can score goals,” said Palacios.
The former caretaker coach of The Buccaneers has lauded club chairman Irvin Khoza for Foster’s promotion.
“We need to give credit to the chairman for signing him and to the coach for giving him an opportunity to play because there are very few coaches at the moment who can give an opportunity to a young player like him. He played in the MDC at the age of 15! I am happy for him and I wish him all the best. All the players from my academy and around South Africa must know that it is possible to get promoted to a big team at an early age. I first met him at the age of 12 and I immediately saw his ambition for football and his talent.
"You could say my academy was the connection because at the moment Pirates don’t have U12, U13, U14 and U15 teams. They only have teams from the U17 division. It’s an honour for me to bring players to Pirates, whether they are from the Augusto Palacios Apprentice Academy or the Pirates development. His family were very committed in terms of taking him to training and picking him up after school. You could see there was that commitment from their side and I would like to see more families being like that.
"He is going to be a breath of fresh air to South African football. He will work his way up to the national U23 and Bafana Bafana. No doubt! He needs to continue working hard and he must understand that there is no time for relaxing. This is another level. He must not think of going to the U23s, he must think about Bafana Bafana!
"I just want to make it clear that the boy came straight from my academy to sign for Pirates and there are more players coming from my academy. It’s good that he’s signed for Orlando Pirates. I had PSL clubs approaching me for the boy’s services after they saw him in action, although I don’t want to mention names. But my commitment was to Pirates,” concluded Palacios.
Soccer Laduma’s exclusive interview with Foster is in edition 1043 of the newspaper, which is currently on the shelves.