SHEPPARD: ‘OUR GOAL IS TO GET THE PLAYERS INTO THE FIRST TEAM’

MultiChoice Diski Challenge head coach Dillon Sheppard has reiterated that the Bidvest Wits Academy’s main goal is to get players into the club’s first team.

The Clever Boys have been flying high in South Africa’s reserve league this season despite regularly losing players to the first team.

Wits slumped to a 3-2 loss to Stellenbosch FC in their most recent MDC clash, but remain hot on the heels of league leaders Mamelodi Sundonws.

“It is disappointing to lose, but we must remember at this level our main objective is to develop players. In this instance, we fielded three debutants, which I personally believe is a success in its own right. Our two top goal scorers were in Cairo with the first team this past weekend and once again, I think that is more of a success for us as a club.”

“I think as a youth coach we try and get our players as close to the first team as possible and this was a perfect opportunity for our players.”

Both Molahlehi Khunyedi and Rowan Human recently travelled to Egypt with the club’s first team for their CAF Confederations Cup group stage match away to Al Nasr, and according to Sheppard, that is exactly the kind of exposure the academy yearns for.

“I think it will be very tough, like I said, we are trying to get these players promoted [to the first team] or to play at the highest level possible.”

“I believe the most important aspects at this stage are for the players to be technically and tactically equipped. It is also our duty to prepare these players psychologically for the professional side of the game where the focus switches from performance to results.”