There is no doubt that season 2016/17 was the best ever for the Team of Choice. An historic seventh spot finish with a young Coach coming to the party, not once but twice, to yield the desirable outcome for the Team of Choice.
Upon being unveiled as the new Head Coach for Maritzburg United, the forever-so-humble-coach", Fadlu Davids did not mince his words in giving credit to his mentor Ernst Middendorp. This is a rare quality in people entrusted with Leadership as they often take the credit and glory for themselves while not acknowledging people that were instrumental in their success.
When Ernst unveiled his new players for the past season, there was a number of youngsters that were in that group and they included Lebohang Maboe, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Mlondi Dlamini, Devon Saal and Luyanda Ntshangase. Some were promoted from the MDC Team whilst others were brought in from NFD teams.
These boys were to follow in the footsteps of young players that were brought into the first team fold the previous season, the likes of Brian Onyango, Evans Rusike, Deolin Mekoa, Blessing Moyo, Bandile Shandu, Fortune Makaringe, Sheldon Van Wyk and Mohau Mokate.
This group of youngsters has proven to be a revelation for the Team of Choice. Add Kwanda Mngonyama to the mix. You then have two players that have been with the National under 20 side (Ntshangase and Shandu), two players with under 23's (Mekoa and Mngonyama) and five with the senior National teams (Onyango, Rusike, Moyo, Maboe and Mokate), just mentioning the youngsters.
When Fadlu took over he showed a lot of belief in them and they came to the party. They gelled very well with the experienced players whilst providing the intensity of youth coupled with tactical discipline that Fadlu instilled in them.
There is small wonder that we see the rewards collectively as a team and as individuals. Both Mokate and Maboe got their first Bafana Bafana call ups for the current COSAFA Castle Cup, with Maboe giving a man of the match performance whilst Mokate gave an assist for the first goal to secure a 2-0 victory against Botswana.
Dlamini has been nominated for the MDC Player category of the PSL Awards. I also have no doubt that Ndlovu is being watched closely. These achievements are a recognition of the good work that our Technical Team put in, in the last two seasons, and the belief in fresh talent to compliment the experience of the senior players.
I am certainly confident that this team under Davids, will give a lot of teams a run for their money in the new season. This team under the current Technical Leadership has the ability to be highly competitive. Mark my words!
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MDLULI RETURNS TO UNITED
TEAM OF CHOICE RELEASE MORE PLAYERS
KURT AND MARITZBURG UNITED PART WAYS
CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH ON DAVIDS APPOINTMENT
DAVIDS APPOINTED HEAD COACH
MOKATE JOINS BAFANA SQUAD
LEBO MABOE GETS BAFANA CALL UP
CHAIRMAN’S OVERVIEW OF THE SEASON - PART TWO
CHAIRMAN'S OVERVIEW OF THE SEASON - PART ONE