The Kaizer Chiefs youth academy is renowned for producing class players who go on to concur the local league and if fortunate go all the way to play abroad.
Thabiso “Skapie” Malatsi might not be a familiar face to many football fanatics but he is bound to dazzle and intrigue all and sundry in the near future.
Inspired and motivated by his homeboy Jabu “Shuffle” Pule, Skapie broke into the Kaizer Chiefs development academy ranks. But he fondly says his dream has not yet been realised. A call-up to the first team is only a step in the right direction.
It is the beginning of long journey and after only two years, the industrious youngster, who hails from Daveyton in the East Rand, won promotion to the first team after impressing the senior team coaching staff. Malatsi moved through the ranks from the under-15s all the way to the reserve side.
“It has not been easy to come all the way from the youth teams through to the reserves,” says Malatsi.
“But it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it at Chiefs and I believe the support and guidance from the seniors players make it a lot easier to adjust. And the promotion is also sign of confidence in me by the coach.”
The nickname might suggest he knows little about football but when Skappie is in possession, defenders kick themselves as they try to dispossesses him and his staggering runs make it impossible for the marker to guess which way he might be heading.
His style of play has been likened to that of Pule and the two players are almost the same height.
“I think Jabu is largely responsible for popularizing this nickname,” says Malatsi. “We come a long way since the days of the Chappies Little League while we playing for Greater Benoni.”
Read more in the next edition of Amakhosi magazine, on sale every month.