Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
ORLANDO Pirates are losing millions buying players instead of using their abundant young talent to reclaim their glory.
The club's head of development, Augusto "Njenje" Palacios, is convinced that he has the players to make Pirates the team to beat.
"I think what made the club play such attractive football under Kosta Papic was that there was communication between the two of us and I would then recommend players to him. But we ended up losing those players," Palacios told Sowetan yesterday.
"The same thing is happening with the new coach (Rudi Krol) because we have lost a lot of players to other teams."
Palacios mentioned Lebohang Mokoena, the late Gift Leremi, Tlou Segolela and Joseph Makhanya as examples of the bright sparks he nurtured.
The Buccaneers have also lost other good players who came through their celebrated development programme.
They include dazzling Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Abia Nale, industrious Mamelodi Sundowns linkman Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi, sensational Moroka Swallows midfielder-cum-attacker Auguston Leonard and gifted Tlou Segolela, whose loan deal at Bloemfontein Celtic expires next month.
The list includes Excellent Walaza, who is also at Celtic, and Michael Morton, who has been loaned out to Bidvest Wits.
These players have been making ground at their current teams and it came as no surprise when Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira drafted them into the squad for international training camps.
Most of The Ghost have also expressed their displeasure at Bucs' management for letting these talented players go at a tender age.
Leremi was playing for Downs at the time of his death.
Palacios said it was crucial to promote the players into the senior team when they were still young.
"It is ridiculous to refer to a 21-year-old as a youngster as most players in Europe make it to the first team at a young age.
"Why do we wait until a player is 21 years old to play for the first team. We are always talking about inexperience but Michael Owen, Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi made their debuts when they were very young," Palacios said.
The Peruvian also said it was not only the club's responsibility to ensure that young players do not go off the rails.
"As a club we must communicate with the family and make sure that the boys attend school and keep good company.
"But they also have a responsibility to behave like professionals."