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This past weekend, Shield South Africa kicked-off their action-packed Shield Sbonis’iDiski regional trials at Wits Soccer Grounds in Johannesburg, sending five deserving hopefuls straight to the final round. What lies ahead for these young talent is the once in a lifetime opportunity of being selected to go train at the home of the Chelsea FC in Cobham London, and upon their return, one player will be selected to join the Orlando Pirates Development team on a one-year contract. Following on the success of 2017, the brand launched year two of the Sbonis’iDiski campaign earlier this year, announcing Orlando Pirates Football Club as one of the official campaign partners alongside Chelsea Football Club.

Image supplied by Shield South Africa: The talented players from across Johannesburg who came to showcase their skills at The Wits Soccer Grounds on Saturday, 12 May, for the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski Regional Trials in the hope of impressing the coaches
During the Jo’burg weekend’s trials, campaign coaches Simphiwe Mkhonza and Dumisani Thusi, as well as the Orland Pirates coaches, put to the test the skills of over 135 dedicated players who brought their A-game in an all new and revamped skills training session developed for the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski campaign. The passion, the hunger, the dedication and the skills: the hopeful players displayed it all, which made the coaches’ job even harder than last year. Players came from far and wide to show the coaches what they are made of – one player in particular came all the way from Mpumalanga and took a 5am taxi to Johannesburg to compete for the highly contested opportunity. While many were called, only a few were ultimately chosen, as the coaches could only pick five out the 135 hopefuls who competed on the day.

Image supplied by Shield South Africa: Players warming up for the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski regional trials at the Wits Soccer grounds
“This weekend once again highlighted the pool of highly talented football players we have in South Africa. The trials were undoubtedly a demonstration of the resilient spirit of the country’s youth, and their readiness and hunger for lifechanging initiatives such as the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski campaign,” said Gareth Marshall, Shield Brand Manager at Unilever South Africa.

“Shield South Africa is invested in the development of local football talent, putting our product to the test, and making sure that everyone is prepared in those pressure moments. Through the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski campaign, we wish to demonstrate our support to those who know that winning comes with hard work and dedication,” adds Marshall.

The trials continue across the country with the next stop being Cape Town on the 19th May, Bloemfontein on the 26 th May, Durban on the 2nd June and lastly in Pretoria on the 9th June of June.
Players will be selected from the regional trials to attend the finals week, where three players will be chosen to travel to London and train at Chelsea Football Club. Once these three players return from London, one of them will be given a one-year contract with Orlando Pirates FC development team to continue a career in football.
“We want to encourage all South Africans to move with Shield, because when you move with Shield, you move with purpose – much like the young hopefuls who came through last Saturday. We’re looking forward to journeying around the country to uncover even more great homegrown football talent,” concluded Marshall.

Image supplied by Shield South Africa: Orlando Pirates MDC Coach Philani Khubeka, Coach Nathi Masika and the Shield Coached Dumisani Thusi and Coach Bizza

To be part of this exciting journey, join and follow the conversation using the hashtag #MoveWithShield and visit our social pages:




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