The Premier Soccer League is serious about football development. They are now introducing a new initiative that will help in uplifting the standard of football in the country.

As the reserve league has come to an end, the PSL will host a Multichoice Diski Shield tournament in April.

PSL Chairman Irvin Khoza says, “It was important for us to introduce this shield. We have allowed over-age players to play but in the shield, only under 23 players are allowed to play. That shows the uniqueness of this tournament and how serious we are about development.”

The new regional competition is reserved for players under the age of 23. The aim is to keep the youngsters active once the reserve league finishes after just 15 rounds of matches.

Khoza says the Diski Shield will unearth more talent for the senior sides. Khoza says former players are expected to share their experience from the dugout.

“The experience of playing must be used in making sure that they share some of the challenges they have experienced with the development and with all the qualifications. It needs a special character, quality. You must have the quality and passion to nurture talent.”

More and more clubs have been introducing youngsters in their first team squads. And they are flourishing.

Mamelodi Sundowns’ Percy Tau and Motjeka Madisha are some of the examples of such.

Sundowns’ development coach, David Notoane, says the initiative by the PSL will help in developing football in the country.

Players and coaches alike are pleased with the announcement. They are keen to take to the field of play and showcase what they’ve got.

Orlando Pirates’ MDC captain, Ricardo Lourenco, says the Diski Shield will help them to up their game.

“I think it’s a really good initiative for the players to have more games to play. It gives a chance to us as Orlando Pirates to win another competition. That’s our objective to try to compete and to win. Let’s see what the competition has in store for us.”

The teams have been divided into four groups of four clubs each. The western region will comprise of Ajax Cape Town, Free State Stars, Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic.

In the Northern region, there will be Polokwane City, Baroka, Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United.

In the central region, there will be Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Bidvest Wits and Platinum Stars.

The other group comprises of Golden Arrows, AmaZulu, Maritzburg United as well as Chippa United.

The winners of each group will advance to the semi-finals.

The Diski Shield will run from April 7 up until May 5.