Nedbank has officially unveiled the 2018 Nedbank Ke Yona Team Search Squad. The announcement, which was made at the Nedbank Headquarters in Johannesburg, saw the reveal of 16 budding youngsters who are set to play against the 2017/18 Nedbank Cup Champions, Free State Stars on Sunday, 09 September 2018.
The announcement was preceded by months of hard work and preparation through various intense training camps. With over 16 000 entries into the Nedbank Ke Yona Team Search, the successful top 16 selected players were identified and chosen from a multitude of hopefuls, whose journey began with a nationwide search in the form of try-outs. Following weeks of deliberations post the try-outs; the Ke Yona coaches trimmed the squad to 48, who were further cut down to a skillful group of 30. Having fewer players in the team magnified the intensity of the Ke Yona journey as 23 players who attended a final training camp were selected from boot camp 30. The remaining 23 formed the final pool of raw talent who were anticipating a Ke Yona Squad call up.
Shortly after the much-anticipated Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge, the Ke Yona Squad will be given yet another golden opportunity to showcase their talent through the Nedbank Ke Yona PSL Draft. The draft will provide the final squad with the prospect of scoring professional contracts with PSL clubs. In previous years, the draft was conducted in the form of a live draw; this year, South Africa’s football loving public will take charge of the drafting by voting the most talented players into the 16 PSL teams.
The draft system was introduced in 2016 and has been a player favorite since inception. Captain of the 2016 Nedbank Ke Yona Team, Bongani Mbuli, was drafted into Bidvest Wits and after his month-long trial, signed by the Clever Boys. The youngster was then sent out on a loan spell with various teams and while on loan, impressively scored a top-notch goal for Super Eagles in the 2018 Nedbank Cup. The 22-year old recently penned a contract with 2017/18 Nedbank Cup champions, Free State Stars, and may feature in the Ke Yona Challenge against a side from a programme that helped him earn his way into professional football.
Nedbank’s innovative talent identification initiative has unearthed, developed and promoted a number of players like Mbuli who, along with Bafana Bafana international, Aubrey Modiba and Bloemfontein Celtic left-back Bongani Sam, all donned the Nedbank green blazer. As the Search moves towards showcasing the newly discovered talent, the Money Experts Who Do Good take pride in creating a synergy between providing youngsters with opportunities and providing them with a chance to transform their lives and those of their families.
Nedbank Head: Group Sponsorships & Cause Marketing, Tobie Badenhorst said: “At Nedbank, we take pride in seeing our graduates progress in their footballing career, and with the lessons on and off the pitch, our graduates manage both the football and money aspects of being professional football players,” said Badenhorst post the Team Announcement. “We started the Boot Camps with 48 players and they were all given lessons which will benefit them in future. By instilling a mentality of being financial savvy, we would like all the individuals who have been a part of the Ke Yona Team Search to be armed with financial education that they can easily and readily implement in any future financial situations that they may find themselves in. Congratulations to all the 16 players who made it this far and we wish the eliminated seven players well,” concluded Badenhorst.
The Nedbank Ke Yona team will play against Free State Stars on the 9th of September 2018 at a venue soon to be announced.