Kickoff (Cape Town)

South Africa: Mabedi Teaches Young Birds to Fly

Retired defender Patrick Mabedi has given Moroka Swallows' new feeder team, Young Birds, to a superb start in the Castle League by leading them to an unbeaten run in their first four games of the season.

Mabedi explains that his Community Relations Officer job at Swallows involves also coaching the newly-formed feeder team that campaigns in the Sedibeng Region of the country's fourth tier league.

"The club recently bought a franchise in the Castle League which is now the feeder team to the senior team," says Mabedi.

"I have a group of players that I selected from the juniors with the assistance of Paul Habib and Eddie Lewis.

"These boys are on the brink of breaking into the senior team, but need to first get exposure by playing competitively regularly. The experience of playing week in week out in this league will help them on the road towards making it into the first team," Mabedi says.

"This is basically the last point before they step up to the first team. What is encouraging is that we have had a good start to the season, having won three and drawn one of the four games that we have played so far.

"I am still involved in other duties as Birds' CRO, but I take charge of the feeder team three days of the week as some of the boys have to go to school.

"There are already six players in the team that I coach who are earmarked for the first team soon. There is a young boy nicknamed 'KG' whom I believe is the best midfielder that I have seen in a long time.

"Soon this team will be playing as curtain raisers when the first team plays at home so that they can get the feel of the stadium atmosphere and be seen by the supporters.

"I am already involved in trying to get a younger generation of supporters so that they can have a closer relationship with the stars of the near future. For now we are still playing all our games in the Vaal," says the Malawian.

Mabedi, due to turn 35 in November, retired at the end of last season after completing two years at Swallows. Prior to that he had eight successful years at Kaizer Chiefs after arriving from Bata Bullets in 1998.

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