‘It’s Been Fantastic!’ – Deciding The Next Bucs MDC Star…
This week three budding South African footballers will win the chance to experience life at Chelsea FC, and one of them will find himself on the books of Orlando Pirates…
Check out some imagery from day one of the finals in the gallery above!
This year, having expanded the Sbonis'iDiski programme to include 10 regions around South Africa, the pool of players identified by Shield has been greatly increased, making it even more difficult for the coaches to select who will win the chance of a lifetime and travel to England.
Of the three winners, one will be selected as the overall winner and handed a life-changing one-year contract with Pirates’ Multichoice Diski Challenge side, and Laurence Griffin, who has flown in from the United Kingdom for the finals, admits that it’s going to be tough.
Speaking to Soccer Laduma after the first day of the finals in Pretoria, the Senior International Development Officer at Chelsea said, “Honestly, it’s been fantastic… What a first day we had. A really good solid day of football.
“I really have got to hand it to Shield, they’ve put in an incredible amount of work over the last three years. It’s testament to the hard work that’s gone on this year in bringing in the best of the best from all across the country.
“We have got 25 of the finest footballers from all across South Africa, all because of the hard work they’ve put in. In terms of numbers, last year we reached about 700 players - this year we’ve hit over 11,000! Out of that pool we whittled it down to 25, and these guys are now the best of the best.
“It’s good news for the programme, but it’s bad news for us as coaches, because it’s giving me an incredible task when it comes to choosing three of them to be the winners. Because honestly, the standard this year has greatly improved.”
Meanwhile, the Chelsea man also gave some insight into what they’re looking for as they look to eventually select the three winners come Wednesday, explaining that it’s not just about what they can do with a football.
He added, “We’re not just looking for a footballer… First and foremost we’re looking for them to show their human qualities. Not just as individuals, but how they group themselves as the collective, and work together in a team. That’s both on and off the field.
“When it comes to us in terms of what we’re looking for as a player, we want that expression of their personality through football - that is very key for anyone coming through the ranks at Chelsea - and our sessions are aimed at bringing out those qualities.
“Those human qualities include their tactical knowledge and awareness of the game, and how their techniques are interlocking and come together to create a rounded player.”
Shield’s Sbonis'iDiski campaign is in it’s third year of existence, and seems to be growing in stature with every year that goes by.