The 2017-18 season has been dubbed the year of the kids with not just Amakhosi, but their rivals also showing faith in teenagers who have great potential to be the big stars at Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits.
During this campaign alone, coach Steve Komphela has given several young players their breakthrough in the top flight, among them defenders Siyabonga Ngezana (20) and Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya (21), midfielder Wiseman Meyiwa (18) as well as striker Ryan Moon (21), who has been leading the line for Amakhosi in the second half of the season.
They are still clearly raw, but they, Moon especially, are great prospects. “But they must step up. The older players have won trophies and done a lot over the years and now they are still here to guide the young ones,” said Chiefs striker Parker.
With the Glamour Boys still without a trophy for nearly three years under Komphela, the Bafana forward was asked to explain why there was still no silverware since May 2015.
“I am a senior in the attacking department and I share a lot with the youngsters,” said Parker, “I speak to (Dumisani) Zuma, to Moon mostly and he is a player that likes to learn, always coming to ask questions about certain things. Going forward I would like to see the youngsters coming through more. They have to show up. They have to mature now in their game and help us.
“The senior guys just want to share their experience, we need to achieve more and so far there have been glimpses that one, two or three of them are doing that. We would like to see more and I think that will also bring the best out of the senior guys.”
Chiefs host Stellenbosch FC in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium tonight and they desperately need to stay in the competition to end this trophy drought. It’s perhaps their best possible chance of salvaging their season and Komphela’s reputation. The coach is now in the final months of his three-year contract and all indications are that he might not stay on beyond this campaign, given the lack of success.
“People are going to assume that Stellenbosch are a small team,” said Parker, who turns 32 next week, in his response to whether a convincing victory over the National First Division outfit could spark the appetite needed to finally win something.
“The assumption is that we are going to get a lot of goals, but I don’t think so.
“We can – if we go for the throat. Our quality is 10 times what they have. I think it’s more mental.
“We need to psych ourselves up and get the belief and confidence. We are here to win trophies. The youngsters need to be consistent, which will be good for the team.”