18 January 2024
There is no denying the impact of the Gauteng Development League (GDL), not only on development football, but also in the professional football space, with the likes of Kaizer Chiefs’ and SA u23 star Mduduzi Shabalala setting the country alight with his raw talent and tactical prowess.
Thanks to the involvement of the broadcast maestros of Sub-Saharan Africa, SuperSport and SuperSport Schools, the Gauteng-based league has seen its impact amplified and the development of players accelerated, with the league generating viewership of over 10-million last season.
However, amid the production of x-factor talents, there still is room for improvement. In a SuperSport Schools’ chat with Kaizer Chiefs’ u19 coach, David Mathebula, last year, a concern about the qualifications of coaches was raised.
League administrator, Muzi Shangase, told SuperSport Schools in an exclusive interview that those questions will be addressed this coming season.
“Last season, the GDL reached new heights in terms of the viewership and that boils down to the involvement of SuperSport Schools and the general commitment from the administrators and the clubs themselves,” said Shangase.
“This season, we have a compliance manual in terms of the coaches’ qualifications, the general marketing of the league, and upskilling everyone involved in the league, to understand the broadcast space and help maximise our reach.
“As a coach, for you to sit on the bench, it is compulsory that you must have a CAF D Licence for the u13 and u15 divisions. In the u17 and u19 divisions, coaches need to have a CAF C Licence.
“This is something that we communicated in January 2023 that, moving into the 2024 season, coaches need to upskill themselves, and we gave them enough time to make themselves eligible to sit on the bench as coaches of the GDL teams this season.
“If we would have international coaches who would be involved in the league, we also have a benchmark for them. They should have a UEFA B Licence for u13 and u15, and then for u17 and u19 they need to possess a UEFA A Licence,” he added.
The 2024 season will kick off with a knockout competition – the GDL Cup – which will feature only the top eight teams in each age group from last season’s GDL log standings.
The quarterfinals round of the knockout competition will be played on 17 February, with the final set for 25 February.
The League swings into action on 2 March, with two newcomers, the East Rand Athletic Football Club and the Vereeniging-based NWU Vaal Soccer Academy (feature photo). Both have earned promotion from the Gauteng Development Promotional League, and NWU Vaal were also giantkillers in the GDL Youth Cup in 2023, eliminating the School of Excellence, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns on their way to the final.
The newcomers replace the Prestige Football Development Academy and Kagiso Porto, both of whom endured forgettable seasons in 2023 and were relegated.
GDL Top 8 Fixture
1. Kaizer Chiefs vs Kathorus Hyper Academy
2. RESA vs Siluma 7
3. Panorama vs Jomo Cosmos
4. Mamelodi Sundowns vs SuperSport United
1. Kaizer Chiefs vs Highlands Park
2. Siluma 7 vs Tuks
3. School of Excellence vs SuperSport United
4. Mamelodi Sundowns vs Wits Junior
1. Kaizer Chiefs vs RESA
2. Randburg vs Kathorus Hyper Academy
3. SuperSport United vs Tuks
4. Mamelodi Sundowns vs Highlands Park
1. Kaizer Chiefs vs SuperSport United
2. School of Excellence vs Randburg
3. Highlands Park vs Prestige
4. Mamelodi Sundowns vs TS Galaxy