It has not taken long for Samkelo Zwane to catch the attention of football connoisseurs and Kaizer Chiefs fans around the country. So impressive was the young midfielder in Amakhosi’s 2-0 win over Golden Arrows at the weekend, that he has been mentioned by some in the same breath as former Manchester United engine-room orchestrator, Paul Scholes. High praise indeed, considering it was his first start in the Gold & Black.
Though such grandiose comparisons are undoubtedly premature, what is also beyond dispute is that Zwane possesses all the potential to develop his Scholesesque attributes to the very highest level and has adapted well to the step up since his promotion from the development structures.
He credits the holistic approach that pervades the Chiefs coaching ethos for his seamless transition, explaining articulately, “We try to keep a similar playing style in the youth development so that it will be easier to integrate so the only difference is the tempo. The playing speed is much quicker,” before emphasising his appreciation for the way the players have accepted him into the group. “So far so good,” he adds, “I think all my teammates are giving me the support that I need, and proper guidance. They are letting me know that I can just express myself.”
The 21-year-old, who celebrated his birthday earlier this week, showed early signs of what he can become with a nerveless, assured performance against Orlando Pirates in the recent Carling Cup, justifying his namesake coach’s confidence in sending him into the cauldron of a Soweto Derby for his senior debut. “I was really grateful for the opportunity. It is one that I’ll never forget. Never ever!
On Saturday, Zwane will be hoping to get some time on the pitch and participate in another birthday celebration, that of the Club, which turns 53. Amakhosi face Sekhukhune United in a DStv Premiership clash at FNB stadium and the talented protégé is “honestly grateful just to be here and be part of it” and is eagerly looking forward to the occasion, closing with, “We should just do what we have prepared at training and put on a good show for the supporters to give them a good present.”
The match kicks off at 20:00 on Saturday evening at FNB Stadium. Tickets are available at attractively reduced prices for this not-to-be-missed festive event.