Kaizer Chiefs reserve team coach Arthur Zwane will be ably assisted by Amakhosi U-19 coach, Vela Khumalo, when the 2021-22 DStv Diski Challenge kicks off on Sunday afternoon with Chiefs facing arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.
The game will take place at midday at the Wits University Stadium at 12h30, which is on campus at Wits University in Johannesburg.
After the disappointment of losing in the semi-finals last season, Zwane is using his team’s heartbreak against AmaZulu to get his team to go one better this time around.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. Since then, I have been watching all the age group teams to gauge the development and progress of the boys to ensure that this season we are more competitive,” Zwane says ahead of the reserves’ Soweto Derby.
Since the last campaign, Zwane’s team is much changed.
“We have loaned out a number of the boys to other teams in the GladAfrica Championship. We have also had to release some players because of their age. We need to ensure that all our boys are ready to compete in the DStv Diski Challenge,” explains Zwane.
He is happy to have promoted players and does feel they have gained experience playing in the younger age group teams within the club’s structures. And he has no qualms about playing younger players in the reserve team, believing that they can live up to the challenge.
“Most of the boys who have been featuring in the Gauteng Development League will be coming up to the reserves – I think they are on the right track. We need to challenge them even more, instead of keeping them there even though they are 17 years old. Let’s throw them in the deep end and challenge them. We are trying to fast track them. It’s about us developing them properly and holistically,” Zwane emphasises.
For the Chiefs reserve team coach, it is the correct time to be promoting a whole host of players.
“These boys have good chemistry. We have a three-year cycle, most of these boys are 16 approaching 17, so we still have another three years to develop them to a level where they can cope,” adds Zwane.
With the game fast approaching, he is looking to make up for lost time with his team following the Covid-enforced break.
“As a result of the pandemic we have lost a lot of time. The best way to make up for the lost time is to play. These are always tough games and for these young ones, it will test their character as individuals. I have no doubt they will rise to the occasion on the day of the game,” Zwane says confidently.
Last season Pirates won this fixture, which was also the opening game of the league stage of the DStv Diski Challenge.
After that derby loss Chiefs then won their next six games in the round-robin stage, before losing on penalties to AmaZulu in the knockout stage.
For coach Zwane and his charges, they will be looking to overcome Pirates and go to their next game against Golden Arrows with three points in the bag.