Orlando Pirates scout Mandla Qhogi has revealed how the 2019 edition of the Shield Sbonis’iDiski campaign is helping the Buccaneers to unearth the player they want to find for the club.
Qhogi, who is responsible for ensuring that the right type of player is identified for Pirates’ reserve team, spoke to Soccer Laduma and revealed how the once-in-a-lifetime footballing competition has been amended, in a bid to reach improve more people’s lives.
“The campaign is doing very well, much better than the previous years,” he told Soccer Laduma.
“The procedure with Shield has changed, whereby the grassroots coaches in the various regions of the country have been involved.
“What's evident is that there is lots of talent in South Africa, especially in provinces like Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and the Northern Cape, which is the areas for promising players for us, to make sure that we get the player that we (Pirates) are looking for."
Qhogi also indicated how the campaign has proved fruitful for coaches and scouts, using Pirates as a point of reference.
“The campaign is a massive help for us as coaches and scouts. You see it is unfortunate, a club like Orlando Pirates can go to Northern Cape, but it cannot reach the whole region in the Northern Cape," he added.
“But if you have, people working on the ground level, who can carefully select the best players from the various regions, you combine the best talent and best grassroots coaches to make our jobs as scouts easier on the provincial level.
“This campaign helps massively, when we as scouts want to identify the cream and crop of the talent in that province.
“In previous seasons, you weren't eligible to enter competition if you did not buy a Shield product and SMS the barcode of the product to Shield.
“The thing with that system is that many good footballers weren't involved in the campaign. They previously weren't getting involved due to the entry system, but now it's an open system, whereby almost anybody can enter.”
Upon the conclusion of the nationwide trials in June, the top 25 players will be selected to travel to Pretoria for further trials in July.
Thereafter, three winners will be chosen, and they will then travel to the Blues’ famous Cobham training ground to train under the guidance of the Premier League giants' coaching staff.
One aspiring footballer will be crowned the 2019 Shield Ultimate Player, and will take home a one-year contract with Pirates' reserve team.
As a fan, you can enter the contest to stand a chance of winning a once-in-a-lifetime and fully-paid VIP experience with Manchester City at their home ground or at a LaLiga game in Spain by purchasing any Shield product and dialling the USSD code with the last four digits of the barcode on the packaging.