There’s a lot on the line this afternoon as 25 young South Africans go up against their counterparts at Orlando Pirates, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity up for grabs...
Check out how they're preparing to face Pirates' MDC side in the gallery above!
Laurence Griffin, who is Chelsea’s Senior International Development Officer, has been part of putting the 25 hopefuls through their paces in Pretoria over the last couple of days, and is one of the people now tasked with selecting three players that will get a chance to impress with the Blues’ in England.
The Sbonis'iDiski youngsters (all of whom are 22 or below) will today get the chance to pit themselves against Pirates’ MDC side – with whom they’re looking to land a contract – and they will be eager to try and leave a mark on those watching on from the sidelines.
Griffin, who is no stranger to South Africa, believes that ‘the sky is the limit’ for some of the youngsters who have made it into the final 25 of the competition, though admits that it will take more than talent if they’re to forge a career for themselves in the game.
Speaking to Soccer Laduma this week, the Chelsea man said, “I think anybody who plays football anywhere across the world, if they have that love and passion for the game then the sky is the limit for anyone who puts in those hours and the hard work on the training pitch.
“Regardless of where they are in the world, if they’re able to express themselves and show that passion then there’s absolutely no reason why none of these guys can go on to play at whatever level.”
He went on to add, “What we’re here to do is to provide them an opportunity and a platform for them to be able to express that potential within themselves, and to provide them with an education that can help them take the next step on their footballing journey - wherever that journey may take them.”
Goalkeeper, Thandanani Tshabalala, and Andy Mehlaphe, a central midfielder, have been chosen to captain the 25 hopefuls when they go up against the young Buccaneers at later this afternoon.