AmaZulu FC general manager Lunga Sokhela has called for patience as they build a team that can compete for major trophies in the future.
Usuthu have struggled in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) this season as they are placed 15th on the league standings which is the relegation play-off spot.
Sokhela refuses to believe that the team will be relegated to the National First Division (NFD) if the current season resumes having been suspended definitely due to the coronavirus pandemic last March.
“We have embarked on a long-term strategy of recruitment, development and talent nurturing,” Sokhela told IOL.
"For us it is a far more sustainable model. We started this process three years ago. If you look at where we are in terms of players, I think we have representation in all the junior national teams.
"If you look at how well our MDC [reserve] side has done, they were placed fourth when the season closed. We were competing among the best - the likes of [Mamelodi] Sundowns."
The last time Usuthu won a major trophy was in 1992 when they clinched the Coca-Cola Cup which is now known as the Telkom Knockout Cup.
Sokhela is convinced that the plan is coming together with the team boasting talented youngsters like Sibusiso Mabiliso, Siphesihle Maduna and Sibusiso Magaqa.
“A lot these boys are schoolboys and we have a number of young players in the senior team as well. We have the likes of Sibusiso Mabiliso, Siphesihle Maduna and Sibusiso Magaqa. If you look at what is coming in next year, that should tell you that something is taking shape here,” he stressed.
“It is unsustainable to try and compete for players in the transfer market. For example, because Bradley Grobler has done well, we say, ‘let us break the bank and pay R150 million to buy him from SuperSport United and pay him R300 000 a month’. We can’t do that. We want to get to that level but through a different model altogether."
The Usuthu official then gave an example of Ajax Cape Town, who came close to winning the PSL title in 2011 with a youthful team.
“Ajax Cape Town got it right under [coach] Foppe de Haan. They had the likes of George Maluleka, Thulani Serero, Khama Billiat, Sameegh Doutie and Lebo Manyama," he said.
“They almost won the league with that team. That’s the model that we are developing and it takes time."
Sokhela urged AmaZulu fans to be patient with the team as it will take time before they can start competing for silverware with the likes of Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.
“Even the model that Sundowns took, they had to wait for nine years to win the league. If you look at Kaizer Chiefs with all their sponsorship and infrastructure," he added.
"They haven’t won anything in five years. It’s not easy but the way in which we are going will work if we are patient while the foundation is being laid.”