All Stars host the Clever Boys at Athlone Stadium in the last-32 tonight [19h30] boasting a youthful squad that have gone undefeated since Patrick Mabedi was re-appointed as head coach in January.
And while NFD clubs are required to start with only two under-23 players eligible to represent South Africa, All Stars have preferred to make up the majority of their first-team with players who fit that bill.
“Out of the 18 players in the squad for tonight’s game [against Bidvest Wits], we will have as many as 12 players who are under-23,” general manager Faeez Dulvie tells KickOff.com.
“We will, in actual fact, keep up with the trend of starting games with about eight under-23 players, despite the fact that the league [PSL] says we must have at least two. The coach has been getting results with these players so there is no need to make wholesome changes just because we are now playing a game with no age limit restrictions. Why change what has been working?” says Dulvie.
Since the return of Mabedi as coach at the start of the year, All Stars have won three and drawn two of the five league games played in 2017, seeing them climb up the NFD standings to 11th, now eight points clear of the relegation zone.
The Malawi-born tactician, who is assisted by former Kaizer Chiefs teammate David Kannemeyer, was initially appointed in September last year but resigned after 14 days in charge, before resuming duties in January.
The list of under-23 players at All Stars includes Dumisani Msibi, Lionel Saal, Linda Bhengu, Tummy Ngwepe, Olwethu Nguye, Justin Jacobus, Sibusiso Phiri, Andisiswe Mtsila, Paseka Sekese, Abednego Mosiatlhaga and Stanley Makgoka.