Alje Schut credits Pitso Mosimane with Mamelodi Sundowns youth revolution
Posted: 23 March 2017 Time: 16:00
Former Mamelodi Sundowns captain Alje Schut has credited Pitso Mosimane with bringing about a revolution that sees the club's youth structures excelling like the first team.
Now in charge of high performance training at the club where he began his career, Eredivisie side FC Utrecht, Schut was exultant when speaking of the recent exploits of the team he used to captain during his time on South African soil.
"I've been following the progress of the guys, so for me I feel great pride with Sundowns having won the African Champions League," he tells KickOff.com.
"It is good to see the core of the group is still the same and the coach is doing well. The guys have been doing extremely well so I'm very proud of them."
The success of Sundowns' first team has been mirrored recently by the teams in their junior ranks with the reserve side claiming the Multichoice Diski Challenge trophy and the Under-17s performing at a high level - the ongoing Gauteng Future Champs tournament particularly indicative of their recent progress.
When delving into the reasons behind the tip-to-toe transformation at the Brazilians, Schut was definitive in his answer.
"You know what's happening - it's Pitso. He came in and said we have to perform at the highest level," says the 36-year-old.
"Our future is development and I think the structure was lacking a few years ago when I was there, but now you can see they are trying to build from the ground up.
"The main thing they have been lacking there is the tactical structure because they do have the ability. I think the technical skills are there but developing it [is important] because if you only learn the tactics when you are 19 or 20 when you join the first team, you've got a little bit of a disadvantage compared to European teams.
"If they [Sundowns] pick that up then I'm not saying they will be unbeatable but they'll be one of the dominant forces in African football."
Schut's final season in South Africa's topflight overlapped the inaugural season of the Diski Challenge and the towering Dutchman, who watched Sundowns' reserve team train at the KNVB campus yesterday, was pleased to see a platform provided for young talents to showcase their skills.
"I think the MDC is a great initiative because now these young guys are playing for something and not just friendlies and local leagues. I'm really happy to see South Africa focusing on youth and not just first teams."