Maritzburg preparing youth players for life beyond football
Petersen shares club's vision for rising stars
Maritzburg United reserves coach Peter Petersen believes that the values they are giving their academy players will help them in life if it doesn’t go well for them in football.
The Premier Soccer League recently introduced a player transition programme to help players aged between 28 and 35 the opportunity to build for life beyond football. Maritzburg are starting with their players from the junior ranks.
Petersen, who is one of the most capped players in the club's history, spoke passionately about the vision the club has for the players in their academy to be better people in the future.
“We are implementing certain measures, with us also starting to take young players to develop a proper culture around the club, a certain way of doing things,” said Petersen.
“For us the most important thing is as much as we want to develop the player, we want to develop the human being, from all walks of life, to get a proper education.
“If it doesn't work in football they can be able to contribute to society in whichever way they can contribute. They should know there is a life outside football. Nowadays, most of the kids believe it's football only,” said the 41-year-old.
Under the guidance of Petersen, the Maritzburg DStv Diski Challenge side has managed to get to 12th spot in the table and is in the mix for a top-eight finish.
Petersen has worn the Maritzburg jersey at the highest level, so he knows what it takes to play for the club in the top flight.
Asked if the current crop of players in the academy have what it takes to wear the blue and white strip in the top flight, Petersen said: “We have some good players in the set-up, if given a chance they will go to the top. They have got the talent, they have everything. What's important is that they don't get sidetracked by outside influences.
“It's important to develop a culture around the club, as to how to behave as a professional player. Those are the things we are putting in place.”
Petersen and his charges will host Cape Town City on Saturday at the Harry Gwala Stadium at 10am for an important Diski Challenge match.
Reserve league fixtures
Saturday: SuperSport United v AmaZulu, Mpumalanga Stadium, 10am; Golden Arrows v Swallows, Princess Magogo Stadium, 10am; Sekhukhune United v Chippa United, Makhulong Stadium, 10am; Maritzburg United v Cape Town City, Harry Gwala Stadium, 10am; Kaizer Chiefs v Royal AM, Mpumalanga Stadium, 12.30pm.
Sunday: Baroka v Stellenbosch, Baroka FC Village, 10am; Mamelodi Sundowns v Marumo Gallants, Tsakane Stadium, 10am; TS Galaxy v Orlando Pirates, Tsakane Stadium, 12.30pm.
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