After a nationwide search for South Africa’s next football champion, the Shield Sbonisi’Diski gives top three players a highly coveted life changing opportunity to train at the home of Chelsea FC in London, Cobham, from the 12 September to 16 September.
Sbonisi’Diski is in its second-year journey, running a series of pressure tests to find South Africa’s next footballs champion. This year, over 600 players showed up for the Shield Sbonisi’Diski trials, only three have qualified in the running to be selected as one of the new additions to the Orlando Pirates MDC team, as well as journey to Chelsea for train with Chelsea FC. The three winners are 20-year-old Ryan Adams from Durban, 20-year-old Thulo Thibatsi from Johannesburg and last year’s top three finalist, 21-year-old Joshua Jerome Roman from Cape Town.
The players were selected from a pool of 25 players who had undergone an intense training skills programme at the High-Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria from 31stJune – 3rd August, facilitated by Chelsea FC coaches, Orlando Pirates MDC and Shield Coaches. At these trials the players were taken through various technical skills, team playing techniques on the field and off the field training, which comprised of media training facilitated by Soccer Legend Mark Fish, football theory and life after football.
“This year the competition was tough, we had the challenging task of selecting three players from a team of 25 talented players from across the country. What these young men have is undeniable talent! We are convinced that the future of football in South Africa is bright,” said Shield Sbonisi’Diski head coach Siphiwe Mkhonza.
The three players have a jam-packed schedule ahead of them in London with Chelsea FC and Shield South Africa: They will be welcomed by Chelsea FC officials at the airport, taken to the Millenium Copthorne Hotel at Stamford bridge, then taken onto Stamford Bridge pitch to be presented with personalised Chelsea kit by coaches. The experience will also include a visit to London Eye on the South Bank of the River Thames in London which is London’s most popular tourist attraction with over 3.7 million visitors annually.
In addition, the winners will be introduced to the Chelsea FC senior team and will be taken on a walk about for an overview of the life at Cobham and a tour of the Chelsea FC Stadium. To bring it all together, the Chelsea FC coaches will train the players and teach them the team’s philosophy and key skills. On the 3rdday of the trip, 14th September the players will be a part of Shield Africa XI team to play against Chelsea Invitational XI on the Main Pitch. Follow all the action and highlights from Chelsea using the hashtag #MoveWithShield.
“Shield went deeper into understanding South African men’s deodorant needs, as we uncovered the ultimate pressure series to put Shield to the test on the field. Shield is committed to football development in South Africa and we will continue to provide life changing opportunities to young aspiring football payers as our contribution to the development of the game”, said Gareth Marshall, Senior Brand Manager at Shield South Africa.
“More than anything what we hope the players can take away from this trip, is the knowledge that Chelsea FC will impart to them. We have partnered with Shield on this great initiative to expand our mandate on football development and it is our belief that through the players we can plant a seed so that they return home and share what they have learned in Chelsea with other aspiring football players in South Africa,” said Laurence Griffin, International Development Head Coach at Chelsea FC.
Upon their return one of the three players will be chosen by Orlando Pirates FC to receive a one-year professional contract with the Orlando Pirates DMC team, as a fully paid professional player.
In addition to the Top three players, 4 additional players have been selected from the Top 25 to join the Shield Africa XI team to train and play against Chelsea Invitational XI. The players are: Kyle Meth from Durban, Marco De Bruin from Cape Town, Kgotso Mogagabe from Johannesburg and Mpumelelo Daddyboy Zwane from Pretoria.
This year also marked Shield’s committed to football developed across the African continent and taking the competition across some of the African countries to make up the Shield Africa XI team. The countries joining with players include: Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia Ivory Coast, Senegal and Gaborone.
“We are thrilled and confident in our Shield products, it’s been proven on the field. It has certainly helped to enable the players with even more confidence to impress the coaches. Shield Sbonisi’Diski is one way we can demonstrate the ultimate protection against odour and wetness our product ranges provide,” concluded Marshall.