Orlando Pirates striker Lyle Foster is set to join France outfit Monaco FC next season. Foster has signed all the paperwork and the club was just waiting for him to turn 18. Foster says it is thanks to the grassroots development tournament, the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge. The annual tournament was launched at the title sponsor’s headquarters in Sandton.
Foster’s career is blossoming at a tender age. When he was 16 years-old, he represented the Schools United FC at the Soccer Challenge. He was spotted by Orlando Pirates and made a name for himself in the ABSA Premiership.
Last year, when he was 17, he helped the national Under 20 team win the COSAFA championship. Now he is on Monaco’s books, a team coached by one of the most successful strikers, Thierry Henry of France. Foster says hard work pays off.
” It’s just to push yourself and know that if you have a dream take care of it and make sure that you work hard to succeed and never give up because everyone has their own time and always focus on yourself. ”
The Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge has not only unearthed players such as Foster, Bidvest Wits captain Thulani Hlatswayo and Sibusiso Vilakazi of Mamelodi Sundowns. It has also produced some of the finest coaches who are now making their mark in mainstream South African football.
Pirates assistant coach, Rulani Mokwena, South African Women’s Under 17 coach and former Banyana Banyana player, Simphiwe Dludlu and Amajita coach Thabo Senong are also products of the Walter Sisulu Challenge. Senong says the grooming of talent is paramount.
“Part of the vision is to make sure that talent is activated. All our young players are active during the year playing league matches and of course playing festive tournaments, remember around December we don’t want players to focus on social factors that will take them away from the fields, we still want them on the fields.”
The 16th edition of the Walter Sisulu Challenge runs from 1 to 29 December.