On Friday The Garden Talent MGMT, which is a sports agency and talent management organisation for sports stars, announced that it had signed 23-year-old Hungry Lions FC goalkeeper, Glen Baadjies. Over the past year, Baadjies has emerged as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in the country through his consistent performances as the first choice keeper at Hungry Lions.
Not only has he earned several man-of-the-match awards for his club in cup competition and in the league, he’s also proven himself to be a pivotal figure in the organisation behind the scenes. A product of the famed Mamelodi Sundown Academy, Baadjies has also represented the national team at u17 and u20 level. Given how rapidly his game is maturing and the progress he’s making, it feels like just a matter of time before he earns a cap with Bafana Bafana.
Baadjies’ signing marks a momentous occasion for The Garden as he’s the company’s very first signing since was launched a year ago. “Glen came to our attention through the referral of an industry friend,” explains Wandile Madondo, who is the founder and CEO of The Garden. “We’ve dedicated about 6 months after that to getting to know the player on the pitch and keeping up with his performances. The three months which followed have been about getting to know the guy off the field. And today our partnership has become official.”
Madondo further explains some of the qualities that impressed him about Baadjies: “Glen is a player who sets the tone in your dressing room. He possesses a very natural leadership ability, not because of an armband, but by just being himself. He’s a glue of sorts within a team environment. He’s very commanding over his penalty area. He makes great saves and has good reflexes.”
Baadjies says he’s looking forward to working with the team at The Garden: “From the moment I first met with Wandile and his team, I felt confident that they had what it takes to take me to the next level. I have the belief that Wandile will work on my career, and even beyond my career, to help me get to the very top. I’m really happy and I took this decision with no doubt.
“I wanted to join The Garden because I had that belief deep down in my heart that they’d take care of me. I’m looking to the good things that are going to come. I know I won’t always get what I want, but I know Wandile will always fight for me. It’s a very happy moment for me. I left one of the biggest agencies in the country to be part of this new journey and I’m looking forward to seeing how things go for us.”
As far as plans for the future, Wandile adds that the current focus is on Hungry Lions’ efforts to gain promotion to the DSTV Premiership. The team is currently in the second division. “Glen, now in his second season with Hungry Lions FC, is purely focused on his team’s efforts of achieving promotion to the pinnacle of our local game. That would be first prize, as just like all players he dreams of playing in the top flight. All energies and efforts right now are focussed on that. Come end of the season, we will do an assessment on the year and decide what the next steps will be.”