Bloemfontein Celtic lose but impress in London

West Ham coach Liam Manning being interviewed by SuperSport presenter Lerato Phago post their match against Bloemfontein Celtic MDC side at Chadwell Heath academy. /Matthew Pentz
West Ham coach Liam Manning being interviewed by SuperSport presenter Lerato Phago post their match against Bloemfontein Celtic MDC side at Chadwell Heath academy. /Matthew Pentz

As they don't have the same financial muscle as their London rivals such as the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, English Premier League's (EPL) perennial mid-table finishers West Ham rely on developing their own players.

Due to their limited resources and smale-scale budget, West Ham Under-23 coach Liam Manning admits it's rather strenuous for them to compete with their rivals in the transfer market.

The Londoners understand they can only rely on these method to catch up with their more fancied rivals.

"We don't have a lot of money. But I believe we can be up there, competing with them by making [producing] our own players from the academy," said Manning.

"We've got 10 Under-21s on loan, we constantly challenge our players in different ways.

"No one can remember how many games we won as a youth team if we are not producing players for the first team.

"Four players from our U23 team are with the first team at the moment.

"Our captain, Ben Johnson, made his first team debut against Manchester City a two weeks ago."

Manning's charges came from a goal down to beat visiting Bloemfontein Celtic MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) team 2-1 on Monday.

The Hammers tactician lauded Phunya Sele Sele's defensive structure, reserving a special praise for the Free Staters' goalkeeper Sipho Chaine.

"I give credit to Bloemfontein on how they set up in terms of good shape and discipline... defensively. It was a really great exercise for us.

"We found it difficult to break their defensive block at times," noted Manning.

"The keeper [Chaine], the way he spoke [when marshalling his defence]... bravery.

"They [Celtic] created a lot of chances, but they didn't convert."

Ndebele is in London as a guest of MultiChoice

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