FOUR Carlos Soccer Youth Development Academy (CSYDA) young footballers travelled to Gauteng to join Bidvest Wits Football Club for a week’s training.
Athenkosi Badi, Musa Kantsu, Morgan Tebbutt and Lemone Seekoe, accompanied by CSYDA director Eric Carlos Mtshamba, spent last week in Gauteng at the Premier Soccer League team’s academy.
“The aim [of the trip] was two-fold; namely to basically strengthen the good relationship between CSYDA and Bidvest Wits and to offer some of my players an opportunity to experience a training session by one of the top professional clubs in the country,” Mtshamba said.
He added that the continuous support from Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) and other loyal sponsors of the King William’s Town-based academy have contributed to making opportunities a reality for the academy.
During interviews it was evident that the boys enjoyed the opportunity presented to them.
Tebbutt, 18, a former Merrifield School pupil who plays as a right-sided defender for the academy, said it was an opportunity he would never forget.
“This was my very first time [at the Wits Academy] and I accepted this opportunity with both hands to try and get accepted,” Tebbutt said.
Teammate Seekoe, 16, in Grade 11 at Merrifield, said: “The environment is all about soccer and everything they are doing here is soccer related.
“It’s very tough and a wake-up call that there is still a long way ahead [to make it as a professional].
“I am confident I will make it as a professional footballer if I work hard.”
Kantsu, who is only 13 years old and in Grade 8 at Hudson Park, echoed his teammates’ sentiments.
“I’m not used to this kind of training. It was really tough but I gave it my best shot,” Kantsu said.
Port Rex pupil Athenkosi Badi, whose favourite player is Keegan Dolly, plays at centre back and was thrilled with the opportunity of being able to train at the academy.
“The humidity differed from the coastal environment we come from and the training was tough but I enjoy every minute at training,” Badi said.
An elated Nompucuko Badi, Athenkosi’s mother, said, “I’m not even sure where to start, but this is a great opportunity that Carlos has created for our kids as we have never thought that one day our son will be sharing the same field with more established and experienced players at a professional club.”
Morgan’s mother, Leigh Tebbutt, said, “I’m thrilled about the latest development at the [Carlos] academy as it’s been Morgan’s dream to be a professional soccer player since he was 10 years old.”
The boys also met with local boy Msingathi Qokweni, who was signed by Wits from CSYDA two years ago.
Qokweni matriculated at
and is plying his trade at Wits for their SAB league team.