Thursday, 26 September 2019 19:21

This year marks the fourth year that leading football association, LaLiga has partnered with the Gauteng Future Champions football development initiative and Gauteng Provincial Government to discover, nurture, and reward young football talent in the province.

As part of LaLiga’s ongoing commitment to help develop football from a grassroots level across South Africa, the powerful partnership organises an annual Future Players Talent Search to unearth, promising football stars and a coach who will travel to Barcelona, Spain to experience a trip of a lifetime.

From the 21st September 2019 to the 28th September 2019, three talented football players plus a winning coach will journey to Spain for a rare opportunity to train with top LaLiga Academy’s, experience the country’s rich cultural heritage, and hopefully, bolster both their personal and career development.

The promising football enthusiasts taking part in this tour include Ayeesha Moosa from Nirvana Secondary School in Lenasia; Bulelani Mkhwanazi from Emshugantambo High School in Pimville and Mpho Maikhoso from Reashoma Secondary School in Protea North. The players will be accompanied by the winning coach, Setshedi More from Pimville.

“The continued relationship between LaLiga and partners such as Future Champions and the Gauteng Province is a great example of how when organisations, with the same vision work together can breathe new life into local and development football,” said Marcos Pelegrin, Managing Director for LaLiga Africa. 

The group departed on the 21st September, heading for the Spanish capital where they first travelled to RCD Espanyol Stadium for an exciting match between RCD Espanyol and Real Sociedad – a great way to take in the atmosphere is arguably the world’s greatest league.

After some downtime at Hotel Barcelona, the Future Players headed to Barcelona’s City Centre for a Live screening of the top of the table clash between Sevilla FC versus Real Madrid, this was complemented by some of Spain’s most traditional dishes. From tapas treats to Paella – a Valencian rice dish, the players will be spoilt for choice as they fuel up for their next big adventure.

There will be no slowing down for these players as the week-long tour will also include an insightful visit to Real Betis’ training grounds, training sessions with the Sevilla Youth Teams – both sessions will be for the boys and the only girl. These sessions will take place on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Despite having to endure a jam-packed week, filled with exciting activities, there will be a lot of highlights to this trip with a tour of the FC Barcelona museum top of the list, a visit to the La Masia, FC Barcelona’s world-famous football academy as well as another opportunity to prove themselves against the best when they train with the RCD Espanyol boys and girls teams.

The rare opportunity to train with top LaLiga Clubs, in addition to living and breathing football daily will enable LaLiga to truly nurture and reward young football talent in South Africa.

“As much as football is central to many South Africans, it is a way of life for a majority of Spaniards all around the world. The winners will get the chance to train with LaLiga clubs and we hope that this helps them in both their personal and career development,” said Pelegrin.

Over-and-above the organisation’s progressive stance on grassroots football and the commitment towards enabling future football stars, LaLiga is highly focused on promoting gender equality, by empowering women’s football and eliminating the gender-bias surrounding the sport. This is one of the reasons that LaLiga continues to be part of Future Champions.

Encouraging women to pursue opportunities in the sport is also, how LaLiga seeks to build a legacy and leave lasting memories for local communities. One such example is last year’s Future Players Gauteng Talent Search winner, Zara Wilkinson who now plays for SAFA Johannesburg.

The group will return to Johannesburg on the 29th September after what would have been an unforgettable week for the youngsters and coach More.