IT IS the day these youngsters have been waiting for all their life.
Sunday will be a big day for them, as they will get to rub shoulders with their idols – Thuso Phala, Bradley Grobler, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Thabo Mnyamane and the rest of the SuperSport United team.
And Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa is the venue for this special one-off annual event on Sunday (3pm) that pits the Nedbank Ke Yona Team against Nedbank Cup champions Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
The question on the lips of everyone who follows this tournament is whether 2017 will be the year Team Ke Yona rewrites history.
Since the inception of the tournament in 2013, no Ke Yona Team has ever been able to claim this trophy, losing to Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport respectively.
Ke Yona Team striker Thabang Ximba said they would be cautious against the reigning champions.
The young players, who were selected after tryouts all over the country attended by the experienced quartet of Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Khabo Zondo, Mike “Sporo” Mangena and Owen Da Gama, finally get a chance to show the country what they are made of.
These team coaches, who have been involved since the beginning, would dearly like a victory to prove they are doing a good job.
The coaches will today address the media regarding their preparedness for Eric Tinkler’s charges – who are still as razor sharp as they were under previous coach Stuart Baxter.
The good thing about the Ke Yona Team players is that they go into this match against SuperSport knowing that all 16 Absa Premiership teams will be watching their every move.
All the players have been drafted into the 16 PSL teams, where they will spend a month with the clubs, in the hopes of earning a contract.
Ximba, who hails from Tembisa, said: “It is in our hands now. Either we take it on or we let it go.”
The final 18-man squad has been together for almost a month now and Ximba believes they have bonded well and know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
He added: “We will fight against SuperSport to achieve our goal, which is to win the match.
“It’s all about teamwork now. During tryouts and bootcamp each and everyone wanted to prove their worth to make the final team. That goal has been accomplished for us and now we are one, working towards a single, shared goal.”
“We can surprise them, we are ready to give it our best shot!”