best of both worlds for happy Frosler

Standing on the pitch at his home stadium, Reeve Frosler couldn’t stop beaming after Bidvest Wits had captured the Absa Premiership last week.

More than any other Clever Boys player, this 19-year-old rightback had a reason to smile. Not only had Wits won the league by beating Polokwane City 2-0, they had done so in time for him to jet off and join his Amajita teammates at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

Frosler has got himself the best of both worlds in the end, as the club v country row that preceded the World Cup has ended with both Frosler and SuperSport United’s Teboho Mokoena jetting off to Asian climes. Phakamani Mahlambi will not be there, but only because he has a damaged hamstring. Injury has again blighted Mahlambi’s international career, as it did when he was unable to take part in the Rio Oympics in 2016.

Amajita coach Thabo Senong will now hope that Frosler and Mokoena can bolster his squad as they aim to bounce back from Sunday’s opening defeat at the World Cup to Japan. Having got themselves in front in the game, South Africa will be desperately disappointed not to have got at least a point against Japan. Maybe it would have been different if Frosler and Mokoena had been there for the opening match, it is impossible to tell. But I empathise with both SuperSport and Wits, who wanted to keep key members of their squads to help in the fight for silverware.

As Gavin Hunt implied after the title had been captured, Wits should not be punished for having the best academy in the country, and actually giving young players a chance in Premier Soccer League football. This could all have been avoided if the PSL had found a way to manage their fixtures so that none had to be played during the World Cup.

There was already a plan to end the league season in June that was suddenly abandoned, but in retrospect, might well have been wiser. As it is now, we have the Nedbank Cup final coming up around a month after domestic league action has finished. SuperSport United will at least be playing in the Caf Confederation Cup in that time, but Orlando Pirates will have no competitive action from their last league game on May 27 until they face Matsatsantsa on June 24 in Durban, Kjell Jonevret will do well to keep his charges sharp.

In this week’s Phakaaathi, we look further into Wits’ amazing title success, and also speak to a man who has been around the club for as long as I can remember, George Mogotsi. We also speak to Fadlu Davids, who has done a fantastic job with Maritzburg United – will this young South African coach get the chance to prove himself at the Team of Choice on a full-time basis? I certainly think he deserves that opportunity.

Elsewhere, we have the latest from the Under-20 camp, for whom Italy are up next tomorrow. It certainly doesn’t get any easier for Senong’s men but at this level that is to be expected. We have news of the opportunity for one South African to have a chance to train with English Premier League champions Chelsea. And we have all the latest in the build up to the promotion play-offs.

The side that will finish in 15th in the Absa Premiership and take on Stellenbosch FC and Black Leopards will be decided this weekend. My pick, for the record, is now for Highlands Park to go down automatically and for Baroka FC to end up in the play-offs.

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