Absa Premiership

Konco lauds Celtic's academy

2014-11-18 14:31
Khumbulani Konco (Backpage)

Johannesburg - Bloemfontein Celtic CEO Khumbulani Konco has attributed the team's success in the reserve league to its unsung development programme.

In the inaugural Multichoice Diski Challenge, Celtic top group A with 14 points from seven games.

"It's a result of proper scouting that has been taking place," Konco said on Tuesday.

"In the past we didn't have a platform to showcase the talent, but now we are able to give the youngsters a stage to shine thanks to the reserve league."

The Siwelele team booked a spot in the league quarterfinals after crushing Moroka Swallows 8-0 and face Mpumalanga Black Aces in January.

Other teams which have progressed into the last eight are Orlando Pirates, University of Pretoria, SuperSport United, Platinum Stars, Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City.

The reserve league was launched in August to provide young stars from the 16 Premiership youth teams a platform to exhibit their talent.

Celtic have a modest, yet efficient development programme which consists of under-15, under-17 and under-19 teams.

These youngsters are enrolled at Louis Botha High School and compete in various tournaments. Celtic also have a subsidiary club, Roses United, competing in the Safa ABC Motsepe League, in the second division, where their players can fine tune their skills before hitting the big leagues.

Youth players at Celtic are given a head start by receiving mentorship from the first team senior players, Konco said.

"Many of our development players train regularly with our first team. We want to expose them to football at the highest level at an early stage."

Not content with the status quo however, Konco said their long term objective was aimed at pumping more resources into the club structure and expand the development programme.

"Budget constraints are something that all teams are faced with. We would love to invest more resources and grow our development structures. But, for the time being, we are working with what we have and making the most of our situation."

Konco said it was their responsibility as a club to contribute players to the national team and to become flag bearers for the country.

"Already we have some of our boys playing in the under-17 and under-20 national team ranks, which is good to see because it means there is something we are doing right.

"We just have to continue and work harder. We want to assist our national teams and provide them with talent."

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