Former Likuena captain leads Bloemfontein Celtic reserves to quarterfinal of newly introduced MultiChoice Diski Challenge
Former Lesotho captain, Lehlohonolo Seema, believes his coaching career is on the right track after leading Bloemfontein Celtic Football Club reserves to first position in Group A of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge.
MultiChoice—Africa’s leading pay-media company which offers Digital Satellite Television (DStv)—introduced the competition this year as a three-year partnership with the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) with a major focus on building a highly competitive reserve league of junior players.
In line with the PSL’s Club Licensing Programme, the primary emphasis would be on fast-tracking under-19s into their first teams, with clubs limited to a maximum of three players above the age of 20 years in their reserve league teams.
The Challenge includes a round-robin league format and knockout phase for all the 16 PSL teams, and also equips players for life after football through life and leadership development skills as well as exposure to careers in broadcasting by attending a one-week career conference at the MultiChoice campus in Randburg.
However, Seema (34), who also serves as one of Bloemfontein Celtic coach Ernst Middendorp’s assistants, believes he still has “a lot to learn” to even consider being head-coach of a PSL club at the moment, despite his early success.
“First of all, I must thank Bloemfontein Celtic management for the trust they have in me, especially the head-coach (Middendorp), who continues to mentor me,” said Seema, who was forced into early retirement in 2011 due to a recurring knee injury following an illustrious career both at home and South Africa.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to lead our reserve side and it has been a big achievement for me and the club at large, finishing the campaign in first position ahead of teams like Ajax Cape Town, Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport United who have academies unlike us.”
Seema, who played for Celtic between 1998 and 2006 and was appointed Chief Scout in November 2013, added the fact that his young charges ended at the top of the eight-team group showed “we must have been doing something right as the league was very competitive”.
He added: “But like I have been telling the players here, there is still more hard work ahead as the competition goes into the knockout stage in January next year, where we will play Mpumalanga Black Aces in the quarterfinals.
“Like I have said, everything is still a learning curve for me, but I was really happy to be in charge of the team and help them do well.
“I am enjoying learning the ropes and despite this early success with the team, there is still a long way to go for me in coaching, but I’m happy with my progress so far.”
The former defender, who also enjoyed immense success with another South African Premier League outfit Orlando Pirates from 2006-2011 before joining Mpumalanga Black Aces where he ended his career, insists he would like to continue learning for as long as possible before becoming head-coach at a topflight league team.
“I’m not even thinking about it at the moment; there are so many challenges in coaching and I don’t want to make a mistake of rushing things. Instead, I will continue to learn and work with the youngsters until the time I really feel ready to be the head-coach,” he said.
Meanwhile, winners of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge will receive a floating trophy and a life-changing trip to Holland for a four-day training camp with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and their top youth coaches, as well as a match against a top Dutch team. The team will also play two friendly games in Germany against two top Bundesliga teams.
MultiChoice Diski Challenge
|4||University of Pretoria||7||3||2||2||9||6||3||11|
|6||Ajax Cape Town||7||2||2||3||9||11||-2||8|
|4||Mpumalanga Black Aces||7||3||2||2||13||12||1||11|
|7||Free State Stars||7||2||1||4||11||14||-3||7|