Despite the fact that the tournament is still very much in its infancy having been launched just six months ago, the coaches all agree that it has been a success for all involved.
University of Pretoria will clash against neighbours SuperSport United in the first semi-final at 10h00 at Wolfson Stadium, while Mpumalanga Black Aces and Mamelodi Sundowns face each other in the other semi-final at 12h00.
Before the battle begins, though, here is what the coaches have to say today about the new PSL Reserve League.
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Jonas Mabusela (MP Black Aces) says:
“It’s been a fulfilling and enjoyable trip for us. Fulfilling in a sense that for me, personally, I have been interacting with coach Clive [Barker]. Once you interact with a person like that you conceive and become ‘pregnant’ with lots of ideas. This platform has given me a chance now to impart what I have been learning from coach Clive and the other coaches at the club. Enjoyable in a sense that we were unknowns when we came into this competition and the other day I even said to my colleagues that for us we’ve been cultivating a desert and that desert has now become a tourist attraction. We’ve given our kids hope. Now players are being promoted into the first team, but not only at our team but also the other teams. So this tournament has given hope to the hopeless.”
Alex Bapela (Mamelodi Sundowns) says:
“Our situation at Sundowns is that we’ve got our development side and after being developed, the players have to go to the next stage and that’s being in the senior team. But that bridge was too big for them to cross so before the launch of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge those players graduating from the academy had nothing to do and it was difficult for us to loan them to other teams because they don’t know them. Since there is MultiChoice Diski Challenge now, we took all those players to play in this tournament. Now it looks like their future is very bright.”
Sly Mosala (University of Pretoria) says:
“This tournament helps the up-and-coming players in terms of exposure to experience different situations. They are playing with some of the PSL players in this tournament and the learning happens a little bit quicker than if they were playing with their age group.”
Kaitano Tembo (SuperSport United) says:
“This tournament has helped both the coaches and the players in terms of giving us exposure. As a club, we always had a vision to promote youngsters to the senior team but it was difficult because the gap was too big. So now the Diski Challenge has managed to bridge that gap between the academy and the senior team. Had it not been for the MDC no-one could have seen some of our players because they were not playing regularly for the first team. Now we have sent players like Thabani Mthembu on loan, so the tournament helps market the players as well. We are happy with the progress.”