Mamelodi Sundowns has been integrating players from its Youth Academy to train with the Senior team with intentions to upskill the performance, maturity, and behavioral levels required to be in the senior team. Coach David Notoane spoke about the importance of the integration program and the opportunity granted to the Academy players.
“This is a very exciting phase of youth academy players integration into the first [senior] team for emerging talent from the academy to have opportunities to be integrated through camps and training. We are grateful as the Youth Academy for our talents to be allowed to experience what it’s like to be with the senior team, as well as to Fastrack their development and exposure to the level of demand in the senior team”, said Coach Notoane as he expressed his gratitude for the Integration Program.
During the preparations for the Carling Black Label Cup Competition in November, the Brazilians had a few of its academy players join in the training sessions with intentions of giving them a chance to participate in the competition. After returning from their mid-season break, the team departed for an away Training Camp in Polokwane, five Youth Academy players joined the team for the training camp.
The five players that joined the senior team for the Polokwane Camp are Jerome Karelse (Striker), Bongolwethu Siyasi (Full Back), Camugu Mdevulana (Centre Back), Thulani Zandmole (Attacking Midfielder), and Pule Manya (Midfielder). The Polokwane Camp aimed to grow the maturity of the academy players, to teach them how to behave in and out of camp, draw inspiration, confidence, and courage as well as learn global stage performance demands.
Coach Notoane mentioned that the youngsters that were chosen to go to the Polokwane Camp got were rewarded for their performance. “Generally, we have players that are very talented and skilled. As coaches in the academy and the senior team, we are always looking for players that show tremendous performance at the junior level. We have been waiting for this opportunity and it’s now up to the junior players to grab the chance and run with it.”
Kennedy Mweene communicated the important role of the senior team players with the integration of the academy players. “Fortunately for the Youth Academy players, they have good people around them. The youngsters need full support from us as senior players and assist them in learning how the way things are done and it’s good that they are starting at an early age.”
Coach Notoane shared that he hopes for the academy players to draw inspiration from Cassius Mailula whose story has naturally drawn a lot of interest. He further mentioned that with the chosen group of academy players, the senior team is currently in a phase of trying to remodel itself to another CAF Champions League Winning Group and they will be looking at how far juniors can go in training and helping the team with the Champions League assignment. ENDS.