Every year, more than five juniors not only get promoted into the senior team, but make a mark in the league. Their first touch, ball control and staying power is always marvellous.
From the 1990s era of Rowen Fernandez, Stanton Fredericks and Bradley Carnell, to present stars like Sibusiso Vilakazi, Sifiso Myeni and Lehlohonolo Maselesa, the Wits academies have produced exceptional talent that has gone on to represent South Africa’s senior national team – Bafana Bafana.
This season has seen the emergence Conley Miller, Miquel Timm, Zaid Patel and Piere Kock, but not many have noticed the existence behind the scenes of the club’s unheralded hero – Charles Yohane. The former Zimbabwe national team fullback has extended his duties beyond starring between the lines for The Students in the 1997-2006 period to producing future stars.
He has done well in his role as head coach of the Under-16 teams and assistant to Paradise Moketsi at Bidboys, the Wits reserve side.
The 39-year-old attributes such successes to a conducive working environment and top-notch facilities.
“We are one big family here and each coach complements the other’s role,” he told The Zimbabwe at their Sturrock Park training grounds, where we found him taking the players through their paces.
“Everyone is involved and head coach Roger (de Sa) often comes here to monitor and give his input. Another positive is that both the senior team and the juniors follow the same training programme.”
He added that discipline among the boys had contributed to the success and discipline is indeed a priority at Wits, which has tamed former PSL bad-boys like Masibusane Zongo, Mbulelo Mabizela and Thando Mngomeni.
“We are also against age-cheating and do not hesitate to take action when we suspect youngsters are not honest with their age,” added the former Caps United star.
His charges have been successful in the national junior leagues, reaching the South African Finals of the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup twice in the last two seasons.
“On each occasion, we lost to Orlando Pirates for reasons that are obvious, but which I will not state here. Nonetheless, I am proud of my players.”
Yohane is a holder of a KNVB (Dutch Royal Football League) international coaching obtained in The Netherlands last August. He expressed worry that Zimbabwe’s junior football was no longer given the same attention it got when he turned out for Dynamos juniors before signing for Fire Batteries in 1994.Post published in: Football