JOHANNESBURG - Menzi Masuku is undoubtedly the first player to show what the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) is all about. After two months during the 2014/15 season, Masuku was already proving to be deadly in front of goals for Orlando Pirates’ reserve side.
Masuku’s terrific outings were rewarded by promotion to the first team by then Buccaneers’ coach Vladimir Vermezovic. The striker stole the show in an Absa Premiership clash against Supersport United in late April, after his elevation to the first team, at Orlando Stadium, scoring a brace.
His second strike in the game was one of brilliance - the striker making a splendid solo run from the halfway line into United’s third as he unleashed a thunderbolt shot into the top corner.
That goal was later voted as the Absa-Lutely Awesome Goal of the Season that year. The main aim of the MDC is the development of young players from the 16 PSL teams.
This is a league that is meant to foster up-coming footballers, allowing them to get used to the set-up of competing week in and out. One of the rules set by the MDC committee is that each team should field at least eight under-23 players at all times.
The MDC has proven to be valuable to a lot of PSL teams, thus turning unknown, raw talents into first team players. Here names such as Reeve Frosler, Nduduzo Sibiya, Grant Margeman, Bruce Bvuma and Kobamelo Kodisang immediately come to mind.
A number of these players have already represented South Africa at a variety of junior inter-national tournaments, like the recent World Cups in Chile (U17) and South Korea (U20), respectively.
With the MDC, teams are eligible to field three players over the age of 23 - first team players who were out injured have used this chance as a stepping stone in working on their match fitness.
The Asidlali league allows experienced playmakers to engage with youngsters, giving young prospects advice on how to work on their game and themselves in their quest to become household names.
The likes of Thabo Rakhale and Percy Tau are just some of the players that used the MDC as a stepping stone back into the starting XI of their respective teams.
The reserve league has more spectators than the PSL. This is caused by a number of factors, such as, the matches are taken to the people with games played in stadiums that are mostly located in township, like the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.
The MDC starts on Saturday with Baroka FC v Bidvest Wits; Bloemfontein Celtic v Mamelodi Sundowns; SuperSport United v Platinum Stars; Cape Town City v Polokwane City; Chippa v Ajax and AmaZulu v Pirates.