In this week’s SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo touched on clubs around the world that are taking the bull by the horns and introducing their young players into high-profile matches.
Khumalo has commended these teams for giving these up and coming players the platform to gain experience and makes reference to the recent UEFA Champions League match where Manchester United faced a star-studded PSG side but made a bold decision to field their youngsters.
“Football is an interesting sport because it teaches you something new every minute and second you’re either playing or watching it. There’s a constant challenge to stay on top of the new trends. It is good to see some changes taking place in the game whether in Europe or even here at home. I have noticed that there are teams, here at home, who are trying to get their players to the higher levels of thinking and playing.
“The reason I’m saying this is because of the introduction of youngsters to the biggest stage of the game, which we recently witnessed in the UEFA Champions League. You look at the Manchester United v PSG game, where United were up against a star-studded team some of whose players have played more than four World Cups and a number of Champions League games. I’m talking about players who have played with and against some of the best players in the world, players who have seen and done it all in the game of football.
“PSG aren’t a small team, by any means, as they comprise of big-name players and for United’s technical team to be so bold, having been two goals down going into this crucial away return leg – playing in front of a hostile crowd – to have the guts to play some of their youngsters in a game of that magnitude is commendable. It didn’t just end there as one of them went on to take such a crucial penalty, which was make-or-break for the team.
“That was a bold decision and the boys didn’t disappoint. If my memory serves me well, there was talk of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer getting the job permanently if he secured a place in the quarterfinals, which he has since done with aplomb. Here’s a coach whose job and reputation are on the chopping block, notwithstanding the injury crisis, taking a bold statement to field youngsters and pretty much throwing them into the deep end, and they didn’t disappoint him.”
The Kaizer Chiefs legend went on to talk about the local players and the importance that we also level up and try to compete with the rest of the world.
To read for the full SportPesa Clubhouse column, check out this week’s edition of Soccer Laduma, issue 1114.