Over 600 players from around the country showed up at regional trials earlier this year across South Africa to earn their spot in the Shield Sbonisi’Diski final three and train with Chelsea FC in London.
Ryan Adams, a central defender from Durban, received the life changing opportunity of a one year contract to join the Orlando Pirates Development team.
Ryan will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of great players to have represented the Club over the past 80 years, including the legendary names of Jerry Sikhosana, Nick Seshweni and Okpara Williams, and more recently, become part of a development setup that unleashed Siphumelele Mbulu, Lyle Foster and Augustine Mahlonoko to the world.
Orlando Pirates FC has a rich history and heritage in South African football and this will mark the start of a bright future in football for the aspiring Durbanite.
The top three players from this year’s program, Adams, Thulo Thibatsi from Johannesburg and last year’s top three finalist, Joshua Jerome Roman from Cape Town, took part in a week-long training experience with Chelsea FC where they were exposed to state-of-the-art training facilities, training sessions and experiences to equip players with a solid understanding of what it takes to be a professional player.
The players were selected from a pool of 25 who had undergone an intense training programme at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria, facilitated by Chelsea, Orlando Pirates and Shield coaches.
At these trials the players were taken through various technical skills, as well as off-the-field media training facilitated by Shield Ambassador and former Bucs defender, Mark Fish.
“We are extremely proud with the success of the campaign this year and we will continue to work hard to grow the platform and help develop young ambitious football players in South Africa,” said Gareth Marshall, Senior Brand Manger Shield South Africa.
The partnership with Orlando Pirates FC is a sustainable commitment from the Shield Sbonisi’Diski campaign, unearthing football talent across South Africa and contributing to local, football development.
“The Shield Sbonisi’Diski platform was created to give local football players an opportunity to showcase their skills, gain exposure and harness young football talent in South Africa. We are proud to have partnered with Shield to bring this initiative to life,” said Orlando Pirates Media Officer, Thandi Merafe.