It’s unlikely that the current rule will change, but Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has again opened the debate around the MultiChoice Diski Challenge format.
What was meant to be a reserve league for all 16 teams in the topflight now has an enforced age-limit of 21, closing the door on senior players looking to gain their fitness, especially following long term injuries.
The Premier Soccer League took a decision prior to the start of the current season to make the radical change, and Mosimane, who rested many of his regulars in their 2-0 Nedbank Cup round of 16 victory against Vaal University of Technology on Sunday argued that his fringe players were rusty because there was no reserve league.
“You could see that Sammy (Seabi) and Sugar (Tiyani Mabunda), the ones who must take the balls to the side like (Hlompho) Kekana and AJ (Andile Jali), who do it all the time, can’t do it because they need game-time,” Mosimane told reporters.
“We can’t blame them, they are not playing football. It comes back to what I said earlier that in as much as MDC is very good and gives us players, it is a reserve league. I just feel it doesn’t give teams enough time to use all the players who are not playing every week. The reserve league is created for that. But when they lowered the age to 21 only, it really creates a problem. We have a lot of players who are 21, 22 and on the edge of making it, but waiting and not ready for the first division, not very ready for PSL. But they need game-time, but unfortunately they can’t play. The MDC is a good programme that has produced a lot of good players.”
The coach said Seabi could have used the MDC to regain his fitness, but the age limit meant he could not feature at all until the weekend.
“But I believe that at least two or three players should be allowed to play – even if they play one half. Like in Europe, players who come from injury play. You can see Sammy came from a long-term injury – where are we going to give him time to play? It’s difficult,” Mosimane said.