In naming the squad to face Nigeria in an international friendly match on 29 March, Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba extended an invitation for five Castle Academy graduates to train with the team.
The five players will be given an opportunity to train with the senior national team from Tuesday, 23 March – Sifiso Nkosi, Bafana Dlamini and Tshepo Mokhabi from season 3, Deolin Mekoa, who currently plays for Maritzburg United from the 2013/14 season, and Rafiq de Goede, currently with NFD side Vasco da Gama.
“It gives us great pleasure in the support the Academy is receiving from SAFA and the men’s senior national team coach, giving the five players and opportunity to train at the highest level with the national team will equip them with the experience that they will take back and use as motivation to work harder,” said SAB Sponsorship Manager Errol Madlala.
Madlala explains that this is not a call-up, but an invitation to give the players a sense of what it entails to be a professional player and how preparations are done at the highest level.
The five players will join the national team in camp on Tuesday, 23 March in Nelspruit and train with them for the week.
Thus far, the Castle-sponsored football Academy initiative, which has been running for three years, has shown great strides and is yielding success stories, with graduates such as Simphiwe Mtsweni of Kaizer Chiefs, Deolin Mekoa of Maritzburg United, Rafiq de Goede at Vasco da Gama and Thabang Mothogwane and Sabelo Mtshali at Baroka FC.
“The objective has always been to see one or two players being signed by PSL or NFD teams in three years’ time, but the response has been amazing as the campaign assists the PSL and NFD team scouts and coaches with an opportunity to see the best talent from around the country scouted and brought to their disposal,” Madlala added.