The story of football development and emancipation of marginalised talented players in the Mpumalanga Province will never be complete without the mentioning of one Coach ‘Bazooka’ Mkhonza.
This selfless football martyr combines efficient youth development and profound scouting for clubs, elite academies and individuals attracted to football emancipation.
FARPost Technical Study Group (TSG) takes pride in unpacking this brilliant coach-scout from Mpumalanga.
1. Who is Coach ‘Bazooka’
This Mpumalanga coaching star was born Mkhonza Petros Nkosana, on the 27th April 1966. His meticulous work as a player, coach and scout compounded those close to him to call ‘Bazooka’, a name he has carried with distinction and pride befitting the scouting and coaching directorate.
2. Early coaching gigs
In the early 1990s Coach Mkhonza opted to attend the majority of the SAFA Coaching Courses, that includes Introductory Coaching Course, SAFA Level One and SAFA Level Two. In those coaching expeditions he rubbed shoulders with some of the best emerging coaching in South Africa including Manqoba Mngqithi, Mandla Ncikazi, Themba Sithole, current Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki and Dan Malesela under the wise tutelage of Horst Kriete and the knowledgeable Simon Ngomane.
But perhaps his coaching calling was the succinct collaboration he obtained in working with Professor Augusto Palacios at the Orlando Pirates Youth Development Academy in Mayfair from 2000 till 2006. The coaching excellence at the Pirates Academy delivered players like the late Gift Leremi, Joseph Makhanya ,William Twala, the late Senzo Meyiwa and Lebohang Mokoena, who went on to represent the ‘Ghost’ successfully.
3. North West University project
The Coach further had a successful stint at the famous North West University (NWU) Mafikeng Football Campus. NWU football project was aimed at developing the next generation of football stars with the ability to merge academic and football excellence.
Amongst the coaching colleagues at NWU were legendary Kaizer Chiefs midfield-supremo Malombo Lechaba, who coached the ABC Motsepe League team. NWU programme produced players like Thabo Rakhale, Xola Mlambo, Thabo Mnyamane, Luvo Mpeta and Boalefa Pule.
4. Provincial scouting
Coach Mkhonza joined the Mamelodi Sundowns provincial scouting unit in 2014. His role includes the following:
1. Spot the right players for the ‘Brazilians’
2. Set up regional scouting networks
3. Provide scouting and technical guidance to all school, amateur and district coaches
4. Report on a regular basis any talent emanating from the province
5. Tactical scouting expert
As a renowned tactical scout, Coach Mkhonza has had excellent contribution to the various Mpumalanga clubs. During the provincial playoffs of either the Regional or the ABC Motsepe leagues, he is sometimes contracted to perform the performance analysis role for various entities. During 2017 he helped TS Sporting to analyze games during the SAFA Mpumalanga SAFA Regional League Provincial playoffs and subsequently promoted to the ABC Motsepe League for the 2017/2018 season. He also helped Sporting during the SAFA National ABC Motsepe playoffs as they won promotion to the GladAfrica League. He also serve as Technical Director and matches analyst during 2018/2019 season.
6. Satellite youth academy
Over the last six years Coach Mkhonza has nurtured some of the finest products from his base. He runs a developmental academy that caters for age groups Under 11-15 in the Dr JS Moroka in Siyabuswa.
The boys train for 3 days in a week and supplemented by a local fixture over the weekend.
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By FARPost Technical Study Group