MultiChoice South Africa and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) today announced the start of the new season of the DStv Diski Challenge, the PSL’s Reserve League, with a new name and logo.
“This tournament has grown immensely since it launched six years ago, and we are now evolving it into an even more exciting phase of unearthing South Africa’s next generation of stars – both on and off the field,” says Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice SA CEO. “DStv Diski Challenge will continue to make a significant impact on football and sports broadcasting in South Africa.”
“When we launched the first season of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, we did so to address football development challenges in our country. Possession, precision and quality were some of the biggest challenges facing our budding stars,” explains Dr Irvin Khoza, Chairman of the PSL. “We have already seen some improvements, and have made progress towards winning the battle. Most of the players that started at the inception of the under 23, are now regulars in the DStv Premiership and GladAfrica Championship.”
The new DStv Diski Challenge season kicks off on Saturday, 5 December, at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve, where Chippa United will face Black Leopards at 11h00, followed by SuperSport United against Orlando Pirates at 13h00.
On Sunday, 6 December, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC will make their debut in the reserve league against Maritzburg United. The opening weekend will close off with a blockbuster as two-time champions Mamelodi Sundowns square off against Kaizer Chiefs.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the matches will be played behind closed doors with no fans. The matches on 5 and 6 December will be broadcast live on DStv SuperSport on the PSL channel 202 and Variety 4 channel 209, which are available from DStv Family, to DStv Premium packages. The matches will be made available to six community TV stations on DStv, available to all DStv customers.
The season will conclude on the first weekend of July 2021. The league will comprise of double-header matches on selected Saturdays and Sundays, which will broadcast live on SuperSport on the PSL channel 202 and Variety 4 DStv channel 209.
The tournament is an important platform for football development and a critical step for academy players across the country, who aspire to become professionals. International stars like Percy Tau, who now plies his trade for Belgian giants Anderlecht, and Burkina Faso’s Lassana Traore, who recently broke Johan Cruyff’s record of most goals in a match for Ajax Amsterdam, both catapulted their careers onto a bigger stage thanks to the DStv Diski Challenge.
The tournament has also impacted South Africa’s national youth teams positively. The U17s qualified for their first FIFA World Cup appearance in 2015 and the U20s returning to the world stage in 2015 after having missed three consecutive tournaments.
To date, over 175 players have been promoted from reserve teams to Premier Soccer League teams. More than 150 caps have been amassed by the DStv Diski Challenge players at national team levels. Today, almost all 32 teams in the PSL and Glad Africa Championship have a Diski Challenge graduate in their squad.
Part of the prize for the winning team was a football development international tour. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic across the world, the international trip has been replaced by a wearable technology for sport. It includes a wearable vest with a GPS performance tracker and personalised performance programmes from a leading sports scientist.
Don’t miss your chance to watch tomorrow’s stars today – tune in to the DStv Diski Challenge opening weekend on 5 December, on the PSL channel 202 and Variety 4 DStv channel 209.