10 months ago
Free State Stars and Team Ke Yona players.Photo byThemba Makofane  ~ 

THABO Mogotsi, Buyelekhaya Velewandle, Lwazi Mgwaba and Lunathi Mdatyulwa are some of the 2018 Nedbank Ke Yona Team Search players who have drawn attention.

Team Ke Yona showed little respect for PSL side Free State Stars at Makhulong Stadium on Sunday, putting on a brave display but ultimately losing 2-1 in front of a capacity crowd in Tembisa.

This year, tournament backer Nedbank has come up with a new innovation in place of the traditional draw to draft the players into the 16 Absa Premiership clubs for a month.

The 16 Ke Yona players will find out on 26 September where they are all heading.

In the last two years, players’ names were put into a bowl and a draw was conducted to draft each player into a PSL side.

This time around Nedbank has left the responsibility up to the supporters to decide where these 16 players will end up by going to the website www.nedbank.co.za or dialling *120*37238# to cast your votes.

The innovative draft concept was launched in 2015 in partnership with the league and aims to enhance the players’ chances of earning contracts in the elite league.

The draft has been instrumental in securing players contracts with PSL and National First Division clubs, with over 10 players signing permanent deals.

The bank’s football sponsorship manager, Tutu Skosana, has urged fans to vote in their numbers. Almost 80 000 votes have been recorded since the voting lines opened on 26 August.

The lines close at midnight on 23 September.

“Every fan is allowed 100 votes, meaning they can vote for one player with different clubs,” Skosana said yesterday.

“The future of these players depends on the fans. Our social media networks provide enough information about the whole process along with player profiles.”

Ke Yona Team selector Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba says discipline would be key for these players when they join their PSL teams.

Said Mashaba: “When players get to this level I hear lot of coaches say ‘go and enjoy it’. There’s no time to enjoy things here, forget about it. It is all about hard work. They must go there with open and inquiring minds, and be prepared to learn.

“The majority of players who have failed, did so because of a lack of discipline.”

Mdatyulwa (21), who scored the only goal for Team Ke Yona against Stars, said he would appreciate the chance to join any team in the top flight.

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