The MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) reserve league will now be played over two rounds‚ or 30 matches‚ over a full season‚ Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza announced on Thursday.
The move for the reserve league‚ which previously was played over a single round‚ and which has helped PSL clubs fast-track especially youthful players who before used to sit wasting away on benches or in the stands‚ is to be applauded.
However the league is also set for a potential personality disorder as Khoza also announced that from now on the MDC will be an under-20 league.
“MultiChoice has agreed that as from August 9 the MDC will now be played with a first and second round‚” Khoza announced at the PSL’s offices in Parktown on Thursday.
“It starts on August 9 and will continue until March or April‚ but thereafter we start with the [MDC] Shield‚ which will end in June or July.”
Khoza said the new U-20 ruling for the league is to add further much-needed development emphasis for PSL teams and South African football.
“We’ve got constraints of resources of proper development of players‚” the chairman said.
“Diski Challenge is giving a game situation to these [young] players at that age. So it’s very important that the league has a commitment to that.
“So instead of allowing the has-beens to come and interfere with the kiddies in the Diski Challenge‚ the league is taking a strong resolution that going forward it is going to be under-20 in the MDC.”
Perhaps problematic with the age barrier‚ though‚ is that the MDC is intended as a youth-orientated reserve league‚ which has been used to great effect by clubs also to nurse senior players back from injury earning much-needed game time outside of first-team football.
Khoza said the PSL would not be considering allowing three or four senior players to participate in the U-20 league for that purpose.
“If we were going to mix this menu it creates problems‚” Khoza said.
“Because it’s difficult to develop. Now here is a sponsor who has given you a chance to nurture your development‚ to nurture and correct your mistakes of your [young] player.
“Those [injured] players will find a way because clubs have practice matches‚ because you have in excess of the 17 players who play a [weekend] league game.
“And the following Monday you can arrange a game to give them game time. You don’t have to involve them in this expensive travelling with the [reserve] team.
“Let the youth be given the chance to measure skill for skill‚ age for age‚ and see what we can get out of it.”
The MDC was first launched in August 2014. The MDC Shield knockout competition was further announced in March 2018.
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