Ajax Cape Town’s Kerwin Oliver, 12, is eager to strap up and impress selectors at the under-13 national championships in Durban, this weekend.
The under-12 central defender earned a spot in the South African School’s Football Association (SASFA) under-13 team, last month.
Kerwin, from Welcome Estate, will now lace up to test his defensive skills against some of the best 12-year-old soccer players in the country, to make the SA under-13 squad.
His father, Hirian, said everything is going well for the youngster and he is developing quickly since he joined the Urban Warriors this season.
Kerwin will also battle it out against his Ajax teammates who made the South African Football Association (SAFA) under-13 team.
“I went through a couple of trials. The first one the selectors chose the Central team, and at the second one they picked the Western Province team,” said Kerwin.
“Last month was the final trial at the Western Cape Sports School, where they chose the Western Cape team.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity because making the SA team is a goal of mine. I’ll be playing against players from club’s like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, so I will need to be at my best,” he said.
Kerwin was first spotted by the Urban Warriors two years ago, and was invited to join the club’s First Touch Programme. At the end of that season, he was one of 16 players who they groomed last year to become this season’s under-12 new recruits.
“After the programme last year, the club called my father to give him the good news that I made the squad. At first, the new schedule and training methods were really tough, but it got better with time.
“We train three days a week and play league matches on a Saturday.
“I remember my first game was against Vasco da Gama, and we beat them 2-0,” said Kerwin, a Grade 6 pupil at Welcome Primary School.
“Each training session is always well planned.
“Mondays we do ball work, Wednesdays are technical running and Fridays we play a game to practise what we’ve learned that week.
“Our toughest opponents have been Fish Hoek FC and we drew against them 2-2,” he said.
Earlier this year, they took part in the Salt River Blackpool junior tournament and were knocked out in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, Tramway FC.
On their way to the semi-finals, they beat Battswood FC 2-1; defeated the hosts Blackpool 2-0; and lost 1-0 to Milano United during the group games.
“In the last-16 we beat Santos 2-0 then Camps Bay 3-0 in the quarter-final. And, after finishing our game at 1-1 against Tramway, they beat us 3-2 on penalties,” he said.
Kerwin started playing soccer at the age of four at Junction Rovers FC, and later joined the FN Rangers’ under-12 team – where he spent one season.
Hirian said Kerwin’s achievements are a good sign for the hard work he has been putting in this season. “I think everything is going well because he works hard. He has soccer four days a week and it keeps him busy. He’s learnt a lot at Ajax and being disciplined is something they really push at the club. And, they have to watch what they eat,” he said.