Six Chiefs teens who could step up

Premiership

Following Kaizer Chiefs' decision to part ways with a host of veteran players, here is a look at seven youngsters who could make the step up to the first team next season.

Earlier this month, Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs embarked on an overhaul of their squad after it was confirmed that no fewer than nine players had been allowed to leave following the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the six Chiefs youngsters who could step up next season

Among those departing are some of the club's most senior players, with the likes of Bernard Parker, Daniel Akpeyi, Daniel Cardoso and Lebogang Manyama all heading out after their contracts were not renewed.

Samir Nurkovic, Lazarous Kambole, Kearyn Baccus, Leonardo Castro and Dumisani Zuma have also been ousted, while Anthony Akumu Agay has found himself unceremoniously placed on the transfer list as well.

The mass exodus at Naturena follows the appointment of Arthur Zwane as Chiefs' new permanent head coach and the club legend has already bolstered his squad with the signings of Ashley Du Preez and Zitha Kwinka from Stellenbosch FC.

Siyethembe Sithebe will also be joining the club once his contract with AmaZulu officially expires at the end of the month and further additions are expected, but Zwane, who has worked in the youth structures, could also promote from within.

During the recently-concluded campaign, and barring a three-minute cameo from 17-year-old Mduduzi Shabalala against Swallows FC last month, no U-21 player turned out for Chiefs in the league –  something Zwane will no doubt hope to change in the upcoming campaign.

Among those who he could call on is 19-year-old goalkeeper Bontle Molefe, who recently returned from a trip to Europe where he was invited to trial with Belgian Jupiler Pro League side Royal Antwerp.

Molefe has already trained with the first team and, with Akpeyi departing and veteran 'keeper Itumeleng Khune's career whistling down, he could step up as a third-choice stopper behind fellow academy graduate Bruce Bvuma and Brandon Petersen.

As far as defenders go, Chiefs could promote the likes of Aiden McCarthy – the son of Fabian McCarthy – or DStv Diski Challenge side captain Jordan Sampson to fill the void left by Cardoso. McCarthy was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win over Sekhukhune United in December.

The aforementioned Shabalala is also expected to make the step up to the first team this season, provided of course that his services are not snapped up abroad, where he recently trialled with the likes of Villarreal and Espanyol in Spain.

The highly-rated teenager is one of the jewels in the crown at Chiefs' academy and has already enjoyed a taste of first-team action, while he also featured for the title-winning Warriors franchise in the inaugural DStv Compact Cup earlier this year.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old Keletso Sifama, who made his debut for the club back in 2020, could finally be ready to make the step up. He spent part of last season on loan with Pretoria Callies and also boasts a brief spell with Maritzburg United to his name.

Lastly, and perhaps unlikely at this stage, Zwane could gamble on teenage sensation Mfundo Vilakazi. The 16-year-old came to prominence at the Philly’s Games in Thembisa last year which prompted Chiefs to snap him up, and he could be one for the future at Naturena.

You can also see all of Chiefs' outbound players in the gallery below

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