After two days of intense training at the Balfour Alexandra Football Club grounds, the Castle Lager Football Academy coaches, Neil Tovey and Phil Masinga, assisted by another former Bafana Bafana legend, Helman Mkhalele together with Calvin Petersen and Thomas Nare, selected the 23 players who will continue in the academy camp till the 2nd of February.
The 45 players who were selected after months of scouting in the SAB regional league and Varsity Football had two days to impress the coaches in the bid to make the final 23 man squad.
The Castle Lager Football Academy initiative, which is in partnership with the South African Football Association (SAFA), aims to give young talented amateur players aged between 18 and 21 exposure into the professional football set-up and an opportunity to be scouted by PSL and NFD teams, and one day represent South Africa in the senior man’s team (Bafana Bafana).
Castle Lager has been a firm supporter of the three national teams, one which is the senior man’s football team, Bafana Bafana.
“The Castle Lager Academy is part of the sponsorship strategy that aims to not only lend support to Bafana Bafana, but also ensure that they get the benefit of the best soccer talent in the country, which will help in building a stronger national team squad in the future” said Shawn Katz, Castle Lager Marketing and Communications Manager.
Before naming the final 23, Neil Tovey had some encouraging words to the talented youngsters who hope to one day play in the premier league.
Tovey said “We saw a lot of talent in these two days. We had a tough deliberation with the scouts on deciding which players should stay and which ones should go home. Some players stood out more than others, but at the end we had to make the hard decision. Those who did not make the final 23, your football career doesn’t end here, you must continue working hard”.
The 23 players have a tough two weeks ahead of them as they will be taken through intense training methods and an opportunity to play friendly matches against PSL sides, BidvestWits, SuperSport United, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Orlando Pirates and NFD side, Highlands.
For the players, this an opportunity to work harder with the hope of being noticed by PSL and NFD teams. They have gone past the first hurdle and ready for a tough two weeks.
“It feels great to be part of the 23 players, it was not an easy two days, but I’m looking forward to playing against professional teams. This an opportunity to showcase my talent and hope to get invited to trails with some of the teams,” said an ecstatic Malesela Monama, who plays for Limpopo based Yster United in the SAB regional league