Kaizer Chiefs are set to receive a welcome boost when the DStv Premiership resumes.
Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane praised the team's youngsters like Mduduzi Shabalala and Samkelo Zwane for "changing the game" in their last encounter before the FIFA World Cup break against Orlando Pirates in the Carling Black Label Cup semi-final.
Although Chiefs lost on penalties after a goalless draw, there is optimism that the likes of Shabalala, who came on at half-time, would be more involved when the league resumes at the end of the year.
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Shabalala, one of the stars from the Diski Challenge team, thanked the supporters for voting for him in the mid-season friendly tournament and expressed how he felt after his first derby experience.
"Firstly I'd like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me, it means a lot, it shows the hard work that I put in the development side and even here in the first team when I get the opportunity," Shabalala told Chiefs media in an interview posted on the club's official YouTube Channel.
"I would like them to keep on supporting us, keep on believing us and we promise that we're going to make sure that we win something this season.
"It was quite difficult for me because it was my first derby and I'm glad that I maneuvered it so well and thank you to the coaches for giving us the opportunity to come and play here, I'm so grateful," he said.
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Samkelo Zwane, who has been more in the fringes of the first team recently, with cameo appearances off the bench, also explained how it felt to play in his first Soweto Derby for the senior team.
"I played my first derby, it was a good experience to play in such a big crowd, in such a historic game. I think the performance of the team in general we played well but we could have taken our chances," Zwane said, alongside Shabalala.
"And for me, I think I played average, I could have done better but we'll fix it at training.
"The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, good energy, a lot of people came to support Kaizer Chiefs.
"The advice that I got was just to stay calm and do what we normally do at training and everything will be right," he added.
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Shabalala went on to reveal the advice he received from the senior players on the bench before coming on against Pirates.
"Good performance for my first game, not bad but I can do better. The advice that I got from all the senior players on the bench is that, 'Be yourself, go out there and show people what you're made of and enjoy yourself'," he said.
"Thank you to everyone who came in numbers, we'll like to see this kind of support in our game against Golden Arrows," he added.
Shabalala was expected to feature more prominently for Chiefs after he signed a three-year contract at the beginning of the season but he was managed differently, according to Diski Challenge head coach Vela Khumalo, as he was doing matric and had a different program to the one in the senior team, who had training sessions in the morning while he had to go to school.
With the league set to resume in the last days of the year, the teenage forward could be more available to Zwane than it was the case in the latter stages of 2022.
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