Ululation, tears of joy and glittering confetti marked the occasion at Nedbank’s Headquarters this Thursday, 10 August 2017 as 18 young players from across the country realised their dreams of playing professional football.

The players were identified through the annual campaign which unearths unknown footballing talent from across the country and gives them an entry into the 16 Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that saw each of the Nedbank Ke Yona Team players draw a name of a PSL team where they will undergo a month long assessment at their chosen club, with the hope of securing a much sought after professional contract.

Those who become successful in the trials will follow in the footsteps of over 20 players who have carved out promising careers at a number of PSL and NFD clubs.  The likes of Maphosa Modiba (Supersport United), Thamsanqa Gwabeni (Platinum Stars), Luthando Sixhaso (Kaizer Chiefs), Ian Chikowa, Kyle Davies (University of Pretoria)  are a testament to Nedbank’s brand essence of being money experts who do good.

The journey to stardom  has its ups and downs, therefore, Nedbank wanted to ensure that the hopefuls receive the necessary support off the field as professional football also has its challenges. That became the reason why the Ring of Steel element was introduced for the Ke Yona trialists. This is a support structure that encompasses financial training, mentorship by a legend, personal grooming, wellness, as well as tips and advice from a leading football agent.

Speaking post the Team Search Announcement and PSL Draft, Nedbank Sponsorship Manager for Football Properties Tutu Skosana said “Football is a lot like managing your finances, you must have a goal, be committed, work hard to attain it and find the right team to enable you to realize that goal.  Congratulations to the 18 future stars who’ve made it into the team and good luck in showcasing your skills and football flair to the PSL clubs”

The event was a culmination of months of talent scouting which saw the experienced quartet of Shakes Mashaba, Khabo Zondo, Owen Da Gama and Mike Mangena meeting over 13 000 soccer hopefuls and putting them through rigorous training and bootcamps to create a formidable team that will take on the 2017 Nedbank Cup Champions; SuperSport United and demonstrate that anyone can be extra –ordinary when they partner with Nedbank.

The Ke Yona Challenge between the Nedbank Ke Yona Team and SuperSport United is scheduled for Sunday, 3 September 2017.  The venue and ticket information will be communicated in due course, however for more information, you can follow the inspirational journey of the Ke Yona Team TV series every Sunday on SABC 1 at 17h30. Alternatively, you can download the innovative and South African’s first footballing app Nedbank Ke Yona App. You can also join the conversation on social media via Twitter (@Nedbanksport ), Facebook (Nedbank Sport) and Instagram (@Nedbank).

Nedbank has always believed in the need to invest in football and football development, as this is one of South Africa’s many passion points. Partnering with the PSL as sponsors of the Nedbank Cup was the first step to creating a platform to unearth raw talent. The Ke Yona match is only the beginning of their road towards a successful footballing career that could change their lives, that of their families and communities forever.