Palacios says winning Pirates will make it easier to promote youngsters

Justin Shonga celebrates with Innocent Maela and Luvuyo Memela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 27, 2018 in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Justin Shonga celebrates with Innocent Maela and Luvuyo Memela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 27, 2018 in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

A winning Orlando Pirates will make it easier to promote players from the club’s youth system‚ Bucs’ development head Augusto Palacios has said.

This season two Pirates youth products‚ Innocent Maela and Mthokozisi Dube‚ who both benefited from previous loan spells‚ have been recalled and become the Buccaneers’ first-choice left and right-backs.

Lyle Foster has shown flashes of brilliance‚ suggesting next season might be the 17-year-old striker’s breakthrough campaign.

Yusuf Maart and Lehlohonolo Mtshali are also waiting in the wings of the first team squad‚ while midfielder Ricardo Lourenco has been knocking on the door of promotion from the Multichoice Diski Challenge reserve team.

Palacios said if Pirates continue their winning form under head coach Milutin Sredojevic‚ which has taken them to second place in the Absa Premiership‚ and can end a four year-trophy drought in the coming months‚ promotion of youngsters will be easier at the club.

“For development‚ when a coach comes (to a club) and he has the pressure to win trophies he will not have an interest to look at the young players‚” Bucs’ development head said.

“But if the team are doing well and winning‚ it’s going to be easier to adapt players from the development to the first team. And I understand that it’s like this like this all over the world.”

Palacios said promotion needs to be undertaken with consideration to the needs of the senior squad.

He said the examples the loans of Dube‚ to Bloemfontein Celtic‚ and Maela‚ to Thanda Royal Zulu‚ showed the benefits of academy players being sent to earn experience and game time‚ rather than being promoted and sitting on the bench at a big club.

“You need to promote at the right time‚ when the team is doing well‚ and where there is space for that player to play in‚ ” Palacios said.

“For example‚ Pirates have Diamond Thopola and Dube competing at right-back and doing well. So now where are you going to field (a promoted player)?

“Promotion is not promotion because you want it.

“At the moment you have Lyle Foster‚ the two Zambian players (Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga) and Thamsanqa Gabuza – you have four strikers.

“When I was coach (in 2012) I had five – we had Benni McCarthy‚ Tokelo Rantie‚ Bongani Ndulula‚ Ndumiso Mabena and Thulasizwe Mbuyane. So it was very difficult to promote.

“For me‚ you promote players at the right time and moment‚ and for what the squad requires.”

Pirates meet Celtic at Orlando Stadium in a PSL matchup on Wednesday night.

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