By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
SEVEN budding Zambian players will today be among 26 African players that European scouts will be looking at during the Nike Africa Soccer Trials to be staged in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The seven Zambians were picked after rigorous trials which saw 85 promising talented youngsters drawn from eight African countries compete in the event organised by the Worldwide Scholarships Group.
The Africa Soccer Trials Event is an initiative run by the World Wide Scholarships Group of South Africa, giving an array of opportunities to upcoming footballers.
One of the exciting opportunities is linking youngsters to top European clubs’ scouts through a programme called Nike Chance.
World wide scholarships Zambia director, Munya Maraire said he was happy that Zambia had proved to be a force in football by producing the largest number of players from a single country.
“This year has seen 26 players scouted from the different age groups from across Africa. These players once selected will be given an opportunity to become professional football players in Europe and also earn university scholarships in football,” he said.
The Zambian players who made the cut are Gift Kashanga, Derrick Sikute, Nyasha Munyarari, Brama Harvey, Musa Chitoshi, Simon Adhanamon and Kachinvya Silwamba.
These were initially picked after trials at Queensmead Stadium in Lusaka more than three months ago
Scouts who will be present at the Nike Chance, come from various United States of America universities to professional footballs clubs in Europe and South Africa
“Top players from Zambia group have been in training camp in South Africa for the past five days with gruesome training in Johannesburg and will live their dreams if they perform well in the Nike Chance event at NIKE Football Centre in Soweto,” Maraire said.
He said players who make it through will be in the shop window of all the top European clubs as the Nike Academy trains the players for a season and play against all the top academies in the world.
The standout players will battle for the three slots to attend the Nike Chance Global final in England on March 6-8.
Last year, a group of selected players played Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona academies and 23 professional contracts were signed.