Warren Zaire-Emery against Bayern Munich in a Last 16 match, became the youngest player to start a UEFA Champions League match at 16 years of age. However back home we refer to 22 and 23 year olds as youngsters because of the inefficiency of our development programs.
ThisIsFootball.Africa spoke to Junior Khanye a former Kaizer Chiefs winger about the debut of the PSG 16-year-old and how it relates to our situation back in South Africa. Khanye himself made his debut for Kaizer Chiefs at the age of 17.
“What PSG is doing is something that everybody must do. You have to balance your squad with these kids and your senior players. Watching this 16-year-old playing with the best players in the world, like Messi, Mbappe and Neymar, means psychologically he is strong enough, and that he was not nervous,” Junior Khanye told ThisIsFootball.Africa journalist Joshua_Journo.
“In South Africa we call them youngsters at the age of 22 or 23. In SA we must learn from this. Big teams like Sundowns, Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, they are the ones who should be applying this. They need to improve their structure and have proper development. I don’t think PSG just fetched him (Zaire-Emery) from the street, he was developed at an early age by at least 10 or 11 years of age.”
“Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Sundowns have got the resources to appoint proper scouts for the early age groups. Also to appoint proper coaches such as Farouk Khan, Augustos Palacious, Mbatha and Cavin Johnson and focus on development and not about the results.”
For example, if Arthur Zwane had to promote a young star like Mfundo Vilakazi from the DStv Diski challenge squad, would the youngster be ready. And if he is not, why are our young players not ready for senior football. Why is it that other countries are able to develop young players faster, both technically, tactically and in a physical nature as witnessed by the physical physique of the 16-year-old Frenchman.
Mfundo Vilakazi, a 17-year-old attacker won the hearts of many football fans across the country while playing for Doornkop Students at the 30th edition of the Philly’s Games in Tembisa, Gauteng in December 2021. Kaizer Chiefs then snapped him up as interest grew over the left footed teenage sensation. Zaire-Emery on the other hand has enjoyed a breakthrough season with the French giants, PSG. The midfielder has made 11 appearances already in the French Ligue 1 this season so far.
“The thing is, is Mfundo Vilakazi properly developed right now? Yes, I see he is talented and raw but is he well developed?” Khanye questioned.
“When he arrives at the senior side, is he going to rise to the occasion? SA youngsters are not well prepared. They’ve never played in a full capacity stadium at an early age. It’s very easy to play in these major tournaments in the location (Kasi football). So Mfundo Vilakazi I can’t see him dancing alone, yes at the DStv Diski Challenge I saw the talent is there, make no mistake he is one of the gifted talents.
“If he is promoted, the expectation will be greater because at the DDC there are no expectations. So then it comes down to if they developed the boy properly. In my opinion, Kaizer Chiefs no longer have those kinds of people that can develop players properly. So, because of this, I doubt that Mfundo Vilakazi will rise if given an opportunity. It will take him about three or four years, because of the lack of proper development at teams like Chiefs for example.”
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