The Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge is living up to its name as it continues to discover young talent on and off the pitch.
The stories of footballers who featured in the tournament and went on to turn professional are well documented.
In a country where young coaches are starting to emerge – think Rulani Mokwena of Orlando Pirates, who’s 34 and take their rightful place in football, the situation has inspired others to start take on the role of guiding the youngsters.
One such coach is Andile Zulu, who’s just 25 and in charge of a team from his Kasi, White City Spurs.
Zulu’s boys were denied the title last year when they lost 4-2 to Sneke Chillers, but the former Orlando Pirates development coach is not discouraged and believes they can redeem themselves this year, while he continues to hone his coaching skills.
“I used to play in White City, but I thought if I’m not good enough at playing I could coach,” admits Zulu, who holds a CAF B Coaching Licence.
“In South Africa, I look up to coach Rulani Mokwena and Thabo Senong (who’s now coaching the Lesotho senior national team). In Europe, I follow Jose Mourinho (of Tottenham Hotspur) and Pep Guardiola (Manchester City).
“When I was at Pirates coach Eric Tinkler was in charge of the first team (a few years ago)and I learnt how to manage players from him, because he had characters like Benni McCarthy, a big player,” he said.
Like all who participate at the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge – players, coaches and administrators, Zulu’s ambition is to be at the highest level.
“Everything has got its own time. I keep on working and I don’t know who’s watching outside, but one of the good days I’ll grab my opportunity.
“My aim is to be at an ABC Motsepe League team next year or even GladAfrica Championship,” says Zulu, who’s not concerned that he could be judged on age rather than ability.
“They used to say I’m too young, but I say give me an opportunity and let’s see.”
In the meantime, Zulu, who says he runs a small business that he wouldn’t want to dwell on, says his coaching philosophy centers around winning and White City Spurs are buying into it.
“I believe in winning. So we start with our build up and play the second ball in the half of the opponent, so we can create space,” he explains.
“Even if you make mistakes, it should happen in the opponent’s half, so we are able to regroup and score the goals. The players understand my coaching methods and implement it.”
All eyes are on White City Spurs to see if they can go one better this time and take the trophy home.
Naturally, Zulu is confident in his charges.
“There’s pressure because we were in the final… our mandate is to reach the final again and win the tournament this time,” adds Zulu who hailed the tournament for bringing the community together.
To stay updated on the tournament, follow Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge 2019 on Facebook and use the hashtag #DWSSC19 across platforms to follow all the action.