Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane has highlighted the need not to overhype teenager Mduduzi Shabalala and allow him time and space to grow.

Playing in only his second game in the top flight, Shabalala was introduced as a substitute during the 3-0 win over Maritzburg United and took just eight minutes to score his first goal at the highest level for the club.

At 18 years, six months and 20 days, he became the third youngest player to score a league goal for Chiefs in the PSL era, after former players Wiseman Meyiwa (17y, 8m, 18d) and Mandla Masango (18y, 0m, 28d).

Zwane revealed what he told the South African junior international about getting his opportunity, and explained his stance on giving youngsters an opportunity to benefit the national teams.

“I told him, ‘No matter if we’re under pressure or we’re leading, I’m going to give you the opportunity and I want to see you going out and showcasing your talent and express yourself,’” explained Zwane.

“He did very well, with the size of his body, he went in and was pressing and he was very energetic, which is what we need from our youngsters.

This can only help all our different age groups at a national level because the country needs players who can play at this level in order to get it right.

“If we are afraid of getting results because we don’t want to play these players, as a coach if you are afraid of losing then you are going to lose.”

On his mentality, Zwane was full of praise for Shabalala’s humility and has no doubt he will go the distance to avoid the pitfalls that others before him failed to do.

“With Mduduzi, luckily we are not far, we are close by and we know the mentality of these youngsters, and what is actually happening where we come from – most of us were born and raised in Soweto,” he added.

“Not only in Soweto but also the mentality we have in terms of giving praise too early, making these boys believe that they have arrived.

“But luckily we know Mdu is one very humble young man, because we spend a lot of time with them and we make them aware of what is going on out there, and they listen.”

Categories: Sport


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