It only took Makhosandile Plaatjie from Alice two attempts to make it into the Nedbank Ke Yona team and now the young marvel aims to set the right example for other budding young players who have a similar ambition in the Eastern Cape.
The Golden Arrows striker from KwaNtselamanzi, 21, who started playing soccer at the age eight with older boys in the area, said he entered the competition in Port Elizabeth after a friend kept on pushing him to enter.
Plaatjie was surprised when he was selected for the final team to face SuperSport United. He said the most important things he has learnt during the short period he spent with Nedbank Ke Yona coaches was importance of time and discipline.
“I want to motivate young players in the province and I want to be a good example when I eventually make it to the PSL teams.”
He said his biggest motivation was to avoid alcohol and drug addiction through soccer, so he doesn’t go down the same route as his local heroes.
“I used to play with the older guys at home, and what scared me is that many of them right now are alcoholics or drug addicts.
“I wanted to avoid that by all means and fortunately for me I have soccer,” he said.
Plaatjie said since his inclusion to the Ke Yona team he has been receiving phone calls from the upper tier ABC Motsepe League clubs.
“I’ve been getting calls from local teams wanting me to play for them. Future Tigers and Tornado want me for this new season but I have not decided my next step yet,” he said.
The Nedbank Ke Yona team was announced at Nedbank’s headquarters last Thursday. Eighteen young players from across the country were identified through the annual campaign. The competition will afford them an opportunity to undergo month-long assessments at their chosen PSL clubs, with the hope of securing professional contracts.
Speaking after the team search announcement and PSL Draft, Nedbank sponsorship manager for football properties Tutu Skosana said soccer was more like managing your finances.
“You must have a goal, be committed, work hard to attain it and find the right team to enable you to realise that goal,” said Skosana.
“Congratulations to the 18 future stars who’ve made it into the Ke Yona team.”
2017 Ke Yona team is: Mavundla Blessing (Free State Stars), Lesley Mkhize (Baroka), Zamuxolo Mduli (Platinum Stars), Kagiso Ramadivha (Chippa United), Elton Namuchuwa (Orlando Pirates), Thabo Mpholo (AmaZulu), Kamogelo Mogotlane (Cape Town City), Zimele Zuma (SuperSport United), Mduduzi Khumalo (Orlando Pirates), Mduduzi Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs), Justin Modiba (Maritzburg United), Kauhelo Ramokonyane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Makhosandile Plaatjie (Golden Arrows), Njabulo Xulu ( Ajax Cape Town), Thabang Ximba (SuperSport United), Bongani Sam (Bloemfontein Celtic), Jabu Hlongwane (Polokwane City), Vuyisile Ndlenjana (Bidvest Wits).