The MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) provides academy and reserve team players with a platform to develop their skills by playing regularly in a competitive league and gives them exposure to the rigours of training and expectations of professional football, thereby increasing their chances of getting promoted to the first teams.
It goes without saying that the MDC is the land of endless opportunity for young footballers with ambitions, a great work ethic, enthusiasm, and of course, talent. FARPost takes a close look at some of the MDC graduates who rose to the occasion in the 2019/20 PSL campaign.
Tiklas Thutlwa (Black Leopards)
Thutlwa is one of the best examples that investing in good players could be beneficial for many teams. The 21-year-old midfielder was promoted to the first team from Black Leopards’ MDC side prior to the PSL resumption. Thutlwa scored an important goal on his debut when Lidoda Duvha defeated Maritzburg United 3-2 in a league game on 16 August 2020.
The in-form midfielder played a significant role in making sure that his side retains their PSL status during the promotion playoffs. He recorded one goal with five assists in three games he has featured in the playoffs. The ‘Hasha Mulilo’ fans will be hoping that he continues with his outstanding performance in the upcoming season. Without a doubt, the young star has repaid the faith of his mentors who believed in him when they promoted him.
Rowan Human (Bidvest Wits)
The Bidvest Wits rising star joined the Clever Boys early in January 2020 from the MDC side. Human participated in 15 games in all competitions last season. His former mentor Gavin Hunt, the man known for turning young players into superstars, hailed the versatility of the attacking midfielder after their 2-1 win against Usuthu on 21 August 2020, where Human scored the opener in the 58th minute.
In fact, Human put it on record that he adapted well into the first team, because he could see what coach Hunt wants from the players and the mentality that the players had in the first team.
This is something similar to what the former Black Leopards player Raymond Seneo told FARPost when he was interviewed about Gavin Hunt. Seneo noted that Hunt’s winning mentality rubs off well onto the players.
Thabiso Monyane (Orlando Pirates)
The 20-year-old defender is one of the Orlando Pirates Development Academy products who paved his way to the top. Monyane joined Ezimnyama Ngenkani in July 2019, after his impressive performance in the MDC reserve league. He appeared in 20 games all competitions for the Buccaneers last season. The Orlando Pirates man proved to have been a steady right-back for his side. Monyane will be expected to continue being a solid-rock in the upcoming season for the Sea Robbers.
Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC)
Makgopa was promoted from Baroka’s MDC side in January following his good display in the developmental league. The 20-year-old striker featured in eight league games and three cup games in the 2019/20 season.
The Ga-Mampa village born striker scored 4 goals in all competitions. Makgopa found the back of the net on his debut during the Nedbank Cup Round of 16 against Hungry Lions FC, where the game ended up in 1-1 draw (Baroka won 6-4 on penalties).
He went on to score a brace in his second Absa Premiership appearance for Baroka against their arch-rivals Black Leopards. The Bakgaga rising star aims to score more goals and win the top goal scorer in the 2020/21 PSL campaign.
Keenan Phillips (Bidvest Wits)
As the Students beefed up their squad ahead of the resumption of PSL games with eight players from the MDC side, Phillips happened to be one of those players who were promoted into the first team.
Having only played four games, the 20-year-old defender showed the signs of becoming the next big thing. Phillips was part of the Amajita squad at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup held in Poland and the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations 2019 held in Nigeria.
The promising right-back has a total number of five caps for South Africa’s under-20 national team. The future of the optimistic young defender remains to be seen where he will be heading following the sale of Bidvest Wits to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM).
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By Mauwane Raophala