“I have the responsibility to showcase what I am capable of, not just for myself, but for all of Stellenbosch. I want people to know that there is talent in Stellenbosch,” said Stellenbosch FC striker, Ashley Du Preez, after his call-up to the U23 national team training camp hosted in eThekwini between 21-29 March.
Du Preez became the latest Stellenbosch FC player to snub a national team call-up when on Friday 19, when the player was announced in David Notoane’s 24-man training squad in preparations for this summer’s upcoming Olympics.
Du Preez joins a list of local Stellenbosch players namely, Jayden Adams (Cloetesville) and Leletu Skelem (Kayamandi) who have represented both the ‘Amajita’ (U20) and ‘Amaglug-glug’(U23) respectively, albeit Du Preez still needing to prove his worth for selection leading up to Tokyo.
“We’re all immensely proud of Ashley and this milestone in his career. It is of course massive for us as a club to have our players represent on the international stage, but it is an even greater accomplishment when those players are home-grown. We can’t express how proud we are of Du Preez and what this means for not only us but for the town of Stellenbosch”, said Rob Benadie CEO of SAS and SFC, who added, “We congratulate him, his family and all the coaches and mentors that have contributed to his career so far.”
Head Coach of Stellenbosch FC, Steve Barker said, “I am absolutely excited for Ashely. I know he will do himself and the club proud. He knows that this is an invitation for him to show the quality we know he possesses for final selection going into the Olympics. The call-up is massive for the club- it is inspiring and will be a catalyst in creating hope for all players from the Cape Winelands district.
“I was excited when I heard the news. Growing up- you dream of moments like this you know? – This is everything I’ve ever wanted. So, when I got the call-up, I knew immediately that this is my opportunity, and going into the training camp, I must give it my all”, said the in-form striker, Du Preez.
Du Preez’s attacking prowess has left teams vulnerable at the back in this season’s DStv Premiership with the striker tormenting defenders with his quick feet and blistering pace. The forward who records a 10 flat for his 100 m sprint continues to outrun most defenders in the League and his goal-scoring form of late has certainly caught the eye of national selectors and the footballing fraternity at large.
The player has adjusted quickly to life in the PSL having fast-tracked his career from winning the then National First Division (NFD) to strutting his talent amongst the best in the country, “It’s an incredible journey so far. From winning the NFD and getting my first professional trophy to playing against the best teams in South Africa is absolutely magnificent. I mean, I used to watch teams like Pirates and Chiefs growing up so to play against them and showcase my talent to the world is a dream come true.”
Stellenbosch FC who come off the back of a draw to League chasers SuperSport United FC fielded 6 teenagers in their matchday squad in that respective fixture, proving that the development of young talent remains a high priority for the club and its future.
The Western Cape outfit next face Kaizer Chiefs on the 6th of April where they’ll look to capitalize on the AmaKhosi’s inconsistent form if the club from Stellenbosch wishes to go one step closer to achieving their goal of finishing in the top 8 this season.