Maritzburg tap into Midlands talent

Maritzburg United are excited about the re-invigoration of their youth development programme and are hoping to soon reap the rewards.

Last season the Team of Choice launched a Schools Soccer Challenge in Pietermaritzburg, which proved to be a huge success and helped pave the way for a new Academy.

The programme has already seen one player – midfielder Bandile Shandu, making the step up to Ernst Middendorp’s first team squad.

Dan Haswell, who is in charge of the Academy side, explains how the program will run in tandem with both the local schools and the Maritzburg United first team.

“The main goal is not to necessarily win the league, but to produce players for the senior team. I have no doubt that this will happen - and sooner than one may think.

“The Colts squad will be utilising the same training facility as the senior team at Carter High and will have access to the club’s physios, goalkeeper coach and the like. As most of them are scholars, they will train in the afternoons.

“I will be assisting with the senior team in the mornings, to learn the coaching philosophy of the Head Coach so that this can be brought across to the Colts players, to ensure easier adaptation and transition for them should they progress to the 1st team.”

Commercial Manager Younus Kadodia also believes that that the club’s investment in youth will ultimately ensure a steady supply line of talent.

“At the onset of this season, it was decided by the Board of Directors that an investment be made into the current development structures and the concept of the Colts team will be that of providing a professional and optimal learning environment for an elite group of youngsters who will be indentified and groomed to break into the first team squad in time,” he said.