Stellenbosch Football Club

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Stellenbosch FC reserve team coach Evangelos Vellios has expressed his pride after a host of his charges earned first-team and South Africa U-20 call-ups this month.

Stellies’ reserve team is currently in the race for the 2023-24 DStv Diski Challenge title and with another three points under their belt this past weekend, it is not just on the log where the team is reaping the fruits of their performances.

Last Friday, three players from the reserve team, namely captain Shaakir Ahmed, Vuyolwethu Andrieas, and Tylon Smith had their chance to travel with the senior side for the Nedbank Cup clash against Milford FC, while Smith and DDC teammates Tyler Cicero and Langelihle Phili were also called up to the South Africa U-20 squad.

Read | Stellies trio named in South Africa U-20 squad for training camp

“We can be very proud of Vuyolwethu, Tylon, and Shaakhir,” Vellios says. “They are three important players for us this season; they are selfless, hard-working and dedicated, and I’m sure they contributed immensely on the Nedbank Cup trip on and off the field with their personalities and energy.

“I’m sure coach Steve Barker would have been confident that they would have been able to deliver if he had required them on the pitch.”

The club has famously built a strong structure from which numerous players have come up through the ranks in recent years, with the likes of Jayden Adams, Mervin Boji, Antonio van Wyk, and Kyle Jurgens, to name only a few, serving as examples of the efficacy of the club’s pipeline from youth football to the PSL.

“It’s that synergy that we have between the first team and the Diski team,” Vellios continues. “The coaches and staff work closely together to have the trust which allows for these types of movements with the players.”

The 2021-22 DStv Diski Challenge-winning coach also reserved a word of praise for the trio that had earned national team call-ups, backing them to represent the club well during their time on the international scene.

Read | Stellies’ Crumpton called upon to mould South Africa U-20 goalkeepers

“We are so proud of Tylon, Tyler, and Langelihle for making the under-20 national team and representing the club,” he concluded. “They follow a rich history of players who have represented the national team at an age group level.

“Credit must go to all the youth coaches, Diski coaches, PSL coaches, management, mental wellbeing coaches, medical department, strength and conditioning coaches, and all the support staff who work so tirelessly to make sure our players develop holistically. We are sure they will represent us well and make the club and their families proud.”