Ajax Cape Town striker Nathan Paulse has reserved special praise for the Bayhill Premier Cup, ahead of the 2017 edition; set to kick-off this Wednesday at Erica Park in Belhar.
The 34-year-old won the famous Under-19 Tournament with the Urban Warriors in 2001, going on to forge a successful career, spending time in Europe before returning home where he continues to play at the highest level in South Africa.
“That, in fact, was my first year that I was drawn into the Ajax Cape Town set-up,” Paulse told the SABC. “I played with the likes of Nazeer Allie and Shane Poggenpoel, there I was as a 17-year-old boy who just left Avendale and there I was two months after joining the club playing with players who were part of the PSL team.
“It was an experience and-a-half. They were still part of that old school feel where players were hard on you, you had to hold your own, but I learnt a lot. I really enjoyed it, the Bayhill experience was amazing, the atmosphere was great.
Paulse continued: “It is a fire you can’t escape, you have to go through it and if you pass with flying colours it bodes well for you as a player. You are playing against the top youth, your age across South Africa and beyond.
Moreover, the burly forward reserved some special words of advice for those eager to follow in his footsteps:
“Our boys have to go there and make themselves proud and also show everyone what they can do.
“It is part of that journey, it is history and a path you have to embrace. I am glad there has been a flow of players going from Bayhill to the First Team. It proves that Bayhill is a tournament that works. It has shaped a few players into the stars they are now.
“My advice is, I was told: every game you play, every time you train, you don’t know who is out there watching – there might be a scout from overseas. In saying that, don’t focus on who is in the stands, just give your all and have fun.
“I always say, even though players have their mind set on playing for Ajax Cape Town’s First Team or going abroad, soccer is still a sport and you still have to enjoy it, and if you enjoy it people will see it. When you enjoy something you will do more than what is expected of you.
“To the players, I will say that, stay humble, work hard and have fun,” Paulse concluded.