The esteemed Grey College in Bloemfontein might be well known for producing a number of Springboks and Proteas stars but former SuperSport United captain Ricardo Katza has been keeping his nose to grindstone to develop football talent at the school.
Katza, who is the Director of Football at one of the most prestigious schools in South Africa, Grey, has a five-year plan to drive development at the school and unearth talent.
“Football at the school is really a difficult job but when I came here in 2018, I gave the school a five-year plan and I identified players that I said, in the next five years, should be coming through,” Katza told the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).
“It’s now two years later and a lot of the things I said in that email have already come to pass, so it’s taken me two years to achieve all the things that I said we will achieve in five years,” added Katza, who was the captain when ‘Matsatsantsa’ clinched three consecutive Absa Premiership titles between 2007 and 2010.
The ex-SuperSport youth coach says some of his players at Grey have attracted interest from football academies and Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs.
“With the group of players we have this year, there is a lot of interest from professional clubs, academies and universities.
“There’s a goalkeeper Lesedi Mokoena, who, when I came here in 2018, we played against Brebner and in the first five minutes I saw him and said I would try and get him to Grey College.
“About three months later, he played for us in the Engen Cup and got Player and Goalkeeper of the Tournament [awards],” he said.
“What I’ve tried to do here at Grey college I try to involve the schools, especially in the rural areas. I try and bring them to Grey. Sometimes we pay for the bus, sometimes we pay for their food because we have the facilities,” explained Katza.
Grey College Bloem might have lost in the final of @SoccerEngen u18's but they got the loudest cheer cos everyone is impressed with their football growth since Ricardo Katza took over as TD…I'm told one of his players is going to Sundowns next year… pic.twitter.com/1rIcl3ZlUC
— Tracksuit (@ThabisoMosia) July 14, 2019
However, Katza has stated that the lack of a proper structure for football development in the Free State is making his task difficult to achieve.
“I must be honest, Free State is very difficult when it comes to football and they don’t want a lot of help.
“In Johannesburg, it’s quite organised. For example, you have the league where SuperSport plays against Sundowns for example and you have all the age groups playing all at the same venue.
“Here you have Grey College playing at home against another school at U15, then the U17s playing against a club in the township, then U19s somewhere else! So it’s just a mess,” concluded Katza.
The Engen Knockout soccer Challenge award ceremony.
Grey scoops the awards for: Coach of the tournament (Ricardo Katza) as well as Goalkeeper and Player of the tournament which goes to Lesedi! #EKOC2018 #Engensoccer #YourJourneyStartsHere #VivaLaGrey pic.twitter.com/ujk1CFivkz
— Grey Kollege (@GreyKollege) July 22, 2018
DID YOU KNOW?
Tshegofatso Mabaso of Orlando Pirates is a product of Grey College football team.
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi