Stepping into professional football is serious business, therefore, I was very cautious right from the beginning. For me, there are no half-measures, either you give it you all do not enter. Over the past few years, I was presented with several opportunities to join professional football, but time and again I let these go. The reason was that I wanted to give it careful consideration and be fully prepared before taking the crucial step.
Back in 2019, I remember having a very good conversation with a man who came to establish the second division. He explained to me the thought process behind it and everything that goes into it. The person invited me and another academy to enter professional football at the time. Despite the fact that he was very convincing and a credible man, I wasn’t ready to take my successful academy into the professional game as yet and take the high-stake risks that come along with it. So, I decided to pass on the opportunity. This academy and another academy that entered at that time did very well and soon both were promoted to the first division.
The logic behind turning down this offer was to gain more insight. The danger lurks in the unknown and is being knocked out before you know it. We intended to learn from the observations and experiences of others before going through the hoops. There was a lot of red tape and investment involved as well so it made more sense to me to see how the other academies fared by going first.
After some time, we were approached again to enter the new third division. Once again I decided against it. We had just come out of COVID so for me it wasn’t a sensible move. Luckily, this turned out to be the right decision. The season kickoff was delayed from October to January and finished in March, so it turned out to be a three-month season only.
This year, however, we had to go in. Since four academies had gone and done well, it was time for us to follow suit. They were all promoted so it was a positive sign and indication that this was the right direction to take. The time to enter had arrived! We decided to go through the hoops and started off with a lot of zoom calls, meetings, and presentations. All preparations were made in a period of three to four months before we were given the green signal and were officially allowed to enter the third division.