The match between the professional outfit and the Ke Yona Team made up of aspiring professional footballers ended 0-0 but captivated a full house at the Atteridgeville venue .
The Ke Yona Team managed to take the game to penalties after a brave display in which they had their chances to win the match, but misses in the shoot-out from Caldea Moseamedi and Masibulele Maseti sealed their fate.
The loss should not detract from the achievement of the side, who more than matched their opponents and can take plenty of heart from the encounter.
“Considering where these players come from, I think we have to be proud with what they have done today. But we must congratulate Kaizer Chiefs for the win today, but our players deserve a pat on the back,” Nedbank Ke Yona Team co-coach Khabo Zondo said.
It was a view backed up by fellow co-coach Owen da Gama, who applauded the development work Nedbank has undertaken.
“For me this is what development is all about, this is what we need in South Africa and well done to Nedbank. To make ordinary people feel extraordinary, and to become extraordinary, is something that our country needs.
“This is the true reflection of proper development, taking players who don’t even have teams … this is what we should have been doing from long ago, to take our soccer to a different level.”
Kaizer Chiefs may have come out on top on the day but were given a scare. Development coach Donald Khuse says they too enjoyed the platform to show the depth in their squad.
“I think the players did well in front of such a big crowd, it was a good platform for them to showcase their talent,” said Khuse. “It is great for the senior coach [Stuart Baxter] to see these players in action and I am sure one or two will start training with the senior team soon.”
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter admitted he was impressed by what he saw from both sides, and believes the work Nedbank s doing to promote grassroots football is vital to the future of the South African game.
“In the first half I was very pleased with the way we structured the game and the way we wanted to play football,” Baxter said of his side. “The second half, you make a few changes and the structure tends to disappear … it was exciting for the crowd because there was some too and fro.
“Any initiative that is as well thought out as this I am positive towards because that is an area we need to get a handle on. We need to get players at a younger age, get the right sort of coaching to them and give them a pathway that they can follow to a career.”
Sydney Mbhele, Divisional Executive for Group Marketing at Nedbank, says they are proud of the achievement of their team to hold Kaizer Chiefs to 0-0 over 90 minutes.
“It’s so fantastic to see dreams and a hope coming to life, the fact that the Ke Yona side took the game to the wire is a testimony to the fact that the talent that was sourced from around the country was very good,” Mbhele said.
“Some of the players have already been signed by PSL teams and we are just ecstatic that we have been able to showcase their talent. We are hoping that after today’s match more teams will have identified their talent because we want these boys to go out there and really contribute to football in South Africa.”