Nedbank has officially unveiled the 16-man squad of the much anticipated 2018 Nedbank Ke Yona team that will take on last season’s winners of the Nedbank Cup
The sponsors believe hard work and preparations towards building a formidable side that will clash with Free State Stars on 9 September at a venue still to be announced, has just begun and the coaches of the team have their work cut out for them.
The announcement was made at the bank headquarters on Rivonia Road in Sandton, and saw the 16 budding youngsters displayed to the public after being wilted down from 16 000 entrants nationwide.
Coaches Shakes Mashaba, Khabo Zondo and Mike Mangena initially cut down the squad to 48 players from the 16 000, then 30 and then the final 23, from which the 16-men squad was ultimately chosen at a media launch and press conference at the bank’s head office in Sandton.
The chosen few from the 16 000 aspirants will be afforded the opportunity of being drafted into each of the 16-team Absa Premiership in which, it is hoped, the 16-men will have an opportunity to impress the premiership teams with the prospect of scoring professional contracts with Premier Soccer League clubs.
In previous years, the draft was conducted in the form of a live draw. This year, South Africa’s football-loving public will take charge of the drafting by voting the most talented players into the 16 premiership teams.
Captain of the 2016 Ke Yona team, Bongani Mbuli, was drafted into Bidvest Wits and after his month-long trial, was signed by the ‘Clever Boys’ but was then loaned out to various teams. While on loan, he scored an impressive top-notch goal for Super Eagles in the 2018 Nedbank Cup campaign.
The 22-year old recently penned a contract with 2018 Nedbank Cup champions, Free State Stars, and may feature in the Ke Yona Challenge against a side from a programme that helped him earn his way into professional football.
The programme has unearthed, developed and promoted a number of players like Mbuli who, along with Bafana Bafana international and SuperSport United midfield maestro-cum strike, Aubrey Modiba, and Bloemfontein Celtic left-back Bongani Sam, all donned the Nedbank green blazer.