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COMMENT: Is Mamelodi Sundowns’ succession plan finally coming to life?

By Ongama Gcwabe , in Football | News , at 2023-11-10

The Gauteng Development League Youth Cup is well and truly underway, with action continuing around the province this weekend in the round of 16.

Last season’s under-13 champs, Mamelodi Sundowns, remain in the hunt for the title after keeping a clean sheet against Prestige Football Development Academy last weekend, while slotting two goals past the Prestige goalkeeper.

Despite winning the 2022 edition of the knockout tournament, Mamelodi Sundowns’ u13 coach Lunga Nobela was at pains to emphasise the point that his team was made up of 11- and 12-year-olds.

Nobela said his players were filled with potential, but they were also challenged by having to front up to bigger and more experienced boys, which was especially the case when they took on Kaizer Chiefs’ u13s in the semi-finals last season.

“We believe…we deserve to be here,” Nobela said during last year’s final four showdown with Chiefs at Panorama.

WATCH: GDL YOUTH CUP 2023 LAUNCH

“Our succession plan is for next year (2023) and that’s why we have 11- and 12-year-old boys that we believe have the talent. What we expect from them is to enjoy themselves and be free enough to play a normal game.”

In 2022, Nobela’s young charges went on to claim the knockout title and they have since gone on to deliver bigger and better things.

In December 2022, they laid claim to the silverware in the inaugural Volkswagen (VW) Vaya Cup soccer tournament, which was held at the University of the Witwatersrand. Following that triumph, coach Nobela and his team were rewarded with a coveted spot at a bespoke international training camp with FC Porto, in Portugal, in April.

This season, in the Gauteng Development League, Nobela’s team finished as runners-up to a dominant Kaizer Chiefs’ side, which finished 10 points clear at the top.

At the core of Nobela’s approach is a coaching philosophy that focuses on the development of his players as individuals but, at the same time, for the benefit of the Pretoria-based club and the nation at large.

“Yes, we want to win but, at the end of the day, it is all about the development of the boys. It is for them to develop and become good players, so that one day they can represent not only the club but the national team,” he said.

“At Mamelodi Sundowns, that is our vision, to make sure that from a young age that is what we build.”

The Brazilians’ u13s, u15s and u19s are all through to the round of 16 of the Gauteng Development League Youth Cup, but the u17s were bounced from the tournament last weekend after a 1-3 defeat to Prestige FDA.

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.