FOR decades European countries have dominated the FIFA world football rankings. Seven of the current top 10 national footballing teams are European, and the continent earns more slots than any other at every FIFA World Cup.
Sept. 30, 2022
3 min read
Africa global soccer trials kick off in Lesotho
Young players who have been selected to join the WWS programme
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According to a press statement released this week by the World Wide Scholarships (WWS), multifaceted global sports, art, and academic organisation, the eyes of football fans around the world are trained on European club competitions as the apex of professional football.
“Now, an African talent placement organisation is in Lesotho looking to take the young talent from Lesotho to play with and against European professional academies to ensure that African talent is represented in the world’s most lucrative leagues,” the statement says.
It says the WWS, which specialises in scouting for young athletic talent and linking it with opportunities around the world to give youngsters the best chance of success, has partnered with international universities and clubs to select African players to take to trials in Italy, Malta and Spain.
Munya Maraire, the CEO of WWS, said the partnership scouted the continent for the brightest talent with the potential to go all the way.
“WWS has held trials in 15 countries and selected 290 young players who will have the opportunity to attend trials, training camps, and play friendly games against international professional academies and clubs. The players selected were from South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini and are aged 14 to 21,” he said.
The trials were held in Lesotho from September 24 – 26 at Mohlomi Mental Hospital.
“We have been working for some years to develop a consistent talent pipeline and relationships with top European clubs so that doors are open to young African talent.
“The African top player story is filled with horror stories of opportunities that are established out of many disadvantaged platforms and circumstances.
“We have brought the services of those who themselves played professional in European clubs and have begun with our elite development centre in South Africa to develop the talent we have found.
“Africa’s wealth is in its talent. Clubs are always looking for great players and we want to make sure that African youngsters have the chance to carve out careers at the top level,” Maraire said.
He added: “Our scout is Claudio Balesini and he is in Lesotho as we speak. Claudio has transitioned youth development worldwide and held the prestigious position of Technical Director at the AC Milan Youth Academy, where he was instrumental in establishing more than 50 club-linked academies worldwide.
“Africa is a unique challenge for him and we have given him the assignment of total development on all four corners.
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“For our goals and objectives in creating a pipeline of young African talent to export to the world’s biggest football leagues, there is simply nobody else of this calibre. There are exciting times ahead,” Maraire said.
“Those who are selected will go on to international trials with professional clubs. Those who do not make the first round can still find opportunities to be placed with prestigious universities in the United States, where they can continue to train with world-class coaches and structures and stand the chance to try again in top European leagues,” he noted.
“Young African players face a number of structural challenges before they can showcase their talent in front of the world’s top clubs and scouts.
“We are here to ensure that the process becomes easier. Even where young players do not succeed, their exposure to the world’s top clubs and setups will give them an advantage in knowing what levels they need to reach to compete with the world’s best. In time, this will improve the quality of the game at a grassroots level in Africa.”