Through their partnership with Shield South Africa, The Buccaneers have given an opportunity to centre-back Ryan Adams to fulfil a childhood dream of playing professional football, after he successfully came through this year’s Sbonis’ iDiski campaign.
Following a week-long trip to London in order to train and refine his skills at English Premier League giants Chelsea, Adams was selected as the one lucky recipient out of 600 hopefuls from around the country to earn himself a contract with Pirates’ MultiChoice Diski Challenge team.
Shield ambassador and coach Siphiwe Mkhonza shared some insight into why the youngster caught the selectors’ attention as the deserving recipient of the once-in-a-lifetime prize.
“Firstly, it was a question of whether he fits the bill of being a professional player, meaning whether he covers all the fundamental aspects of a player [specifically] for Pirates, not just any other team,” explained Mkhonza.
“One, we look at whether the player is fit enough to sustain himself; is he mentally tough; what’s his technical ability and game insight like itself - these are things we looked at and agreed unanimously that he covers all those aspects.
“Also, apart from being a defender, he is a player that is multi-functional and can play in numerous other positions. What became critical for Adams was that he’s a modern centre-back.
“We normally have centre-backs that can only mark, but he can also build up from the back and he’s very confident on the ball. He’s also a very good communicator and he’s strong in one-on-one situations.”
Bucs’ reserve team coach Mandla Qhogi also explained what he saw in Adams that could help his side in their quest to challenge for the club’s maiden Diski Challenge title.
“We wanted a player that will fit with the system that we want to play as well as the philosophy that we’re following from the club,” said Qhogi.
“I’ll make a typical example of our legend Mark Fish, that Adams is a centre-back and comfortable with the ball at his feet. He’s also a player that can solve defensive problems.
“He’s a very good player, intelligent, quick thinker and can also play in central midfield. But defensively we like him because, if you look at the club philosophy, we want to build from the back and he fits that system very well.”