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. 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 taking young talent from the continent to play with and against European professional academies to ensure that African talent is represented in the world’s most lucrative leagues.
World Wide Scholarships (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 Italia Calcio Coaching to select African players to take to trials in Italy, Malta and Spain from 14 to 27 May.
Munya Maraire, CEO of WWS, says the partnership scouted the continent for the brightest talent with potential to go all the way. WWS and Italia Calcio Coaching 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.
“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,” says Maraire.
“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 adds.
Twenty-Six players were selected from our various trials held throughout Southern Africa from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Cote de Voir, and Malawi.
Our select from Zimbabwe are Louis Robert and Tadiwanashe Chikondo.
Our select from South Africa are Nicola Herman, Aiden April, Tinyiko Hlungwane, Keelan De Villiers, Imaad Sattar, Sibusiso Jnr Gcabashe, Lizwi Mdikane, Tannyth Fourie, Xolani Shoba, Mpho Mojapelo, Hope Motsogi, Tuli Nashixua, and Semi Siduka.
Our select from Namibia are Brooklyn Willemse, Zander Mclune, Xavier Mclune, Stephanus Lambert, Fillipo Micheletti, and Stephanus Haingura.
Our select player from Cote De Voir is Hussein Karaki.
And finally, our select from Malawi are Sean Mcbrams, Ralph Jooma Jr, Spencer Tsamwa, and Thembani Phoya.
“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,” says Maraire.