As assistant coach of Bidvest Wits’ MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) team, Phuphu Mohlaba plays a leading role in developing the future stars of the Clever Boys’ first team.
Mohlaba is the right-hand man of head coach Dillon Sheppard, with the Bidvest Wits MDC team enjoying a fine campaign which sees them placed second on the log, four points adrift of current leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Wits’ ability to consistently bring players through the age group levels of the club has been one of the key reasons for the MDC team’s success so far, according to Mohlaba.
“I think what has really set us apart is the fact that many of the boys that we have in the team have been at the club for a long time. They have such a good knowledge and intimacy with one another due to playing together across 2 or 3 age groups,” explained the assistant coach.
“But more than anything, it is the amount and quality of work that is done by all the youth coaches at the club over those years. Because of that many of the boys have a really good football education.”
Mohlaba sees his main responsibility as to fulfil the clubs desire to produce the best possible players: “My biggest contribution is to give every ounce of myself to assist these young men in fulfilling their potential to become elite professional footballers and all round wonderful human beings. This aligns with how the club views itself in adding to these young men’s lives”
Preparing players for life in the professional ranks is no easy task, but Mohlaba enjoys the challenge of grooming youngsters for the ‘big leagues’.
“I think more than anything, just readiness: are you [MDC players] prepared for the highest level? Did you learn everything you need for top level football?
“Many of them are at the age where we look forward to them becoming professionals, so it’s all about refining anything that hasn’t perfected by that point and to really cultivate that competitive spirit. Getting them as close as possible to the highest level – PSL, NFD [GladAfrica Championship, second tier] and SAFA National Teams – is the ultimate goal.
Bidvest Wits’ reserve team will continue their MDC campaign with a clash against Polokwane City this Saturday, 18 January.