NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
1 January 2016
The Current Absa Premiership Season has been a very challenging start for the club on the field in terms of results not coming our way.
To have ended the previous season on such a high note, achieving a Top eight status for the first time, and now finding ourselves at the bottom of the log half way through the current season, is unacceptable by the standards we set ourselves as a Football Club.
We were also very proud that this achievement of a Top 8 finish came in the first year of our partnership with the Msunduzi Municipality. The clubs achievement last season was a culmination of a clear strategy by the club to aggressively pursue success on and off the field with the foremost objective of taking the brand to new heights, make it more attractive to potential sponsors and fans alike.
We will forge ahead with this strategy until we are successful. There are two underpinning aspects to this that we are pursuing aggressively;
• The Development Academy
We are very appreciative of the fact that Development Academies are a huge football solution for clubs in modern football. We have to learn from clubs around the world that have made huge successes through properly set up development structures that have produced highly competitive players, that have not only helped the club on the field, but also in terms of revenue when these players get sold to other clubs.
Our visit to Manchester City, was driven by that desire to learn how they run their Academy as it is one of, if not the best in the world. We are ambitious because we want to achieve. Our approach is to professionally develop local players from ages as young as nine years old right up to twenty one before they are signed with the senior team.
Our objective is to have the majority of players in the senior team coming from Pietermaritzburg, uMgungundlovu and KZN in general. We are in talks with the Municipality regarding the facility that we have identified for purposes of establishing an Academy and plan to have this operational in 2016.
• The High Performance Centre
Modern football requires that modern facilities and infrastructure be made available for day to day training and preparation for the technical team and the players. The availability of such resources enables them to train and prepare themselves in the most conducive environment in order for players to produce optimum levels of performance in the field of play, and yield desirable outcomes.
Again, our engagements with the Municipality in this regard have been met favourably and in fact the first team training field next to Harry Gwala Stadium should be ready for use shortly.
By the start of next season, we should have access to other facilities like gym, medical rooms, video analysis room etc which are currently under construction. The Academy is planned to have its own High performance centre as well. I have decided to highlight just these two aspects with the view of briefly sharing with our fans the plan we have of taking the club to greater heights.
The current scenario is that after a very disappointing start this season, we have put a plan in place to rectify the situation. Since the sudden and unexpected departure of Steve Komphela, there is clear evidence that the momentum was affected during the crucial preseason preparation period.
After a long and careful process of finding a coach that will take us out of the dire situation we find ourselves in, we have great confidence in Ernst Middendorp that he will help us retain our PSL Status and even compete for a respectable position on the log.
He is familiar with the environment and he knows a lot of the players in the squad. Ernst is renowned for his discipline with players and astute tactical ability. But Ernst alone cannot achieve what is required.
It requires that all of us, Directors, Sponsors, Staff and fans to rally behind the technical staff and the players. I am sure that we all share the same vision at this stage, which is to save the club from relegation and see PSL football remain in the City of Choice for many a season to come.
I urge all our supporters, even those of other teams who stay in Maritzburg and surrounding areas, to support the team and come in our numbers each time we have a home game, and travel with the team whenever possible.
I wish you all with your families a very peaceful and prosperous new year. Those who are travelling, please drive safely and as we enjoy the rest of the festive season, let us do so responsibly.