Four students from Zimbabwe have won university scholarships to the United States after impressing an American university scout Lara Kiki.
The players who will be flying to America to join Dayton University on a full sports scholarship are Victor Chagonda, Farai Mupasiri, Obey Mwerahari and Artwell Mukandi who belong to Harare-based BN Soccer Academy.
The academy hosted a two-day trial at Belgravia Sports Club over the weekend on behalf of Dayton which was represented by the university coach Kiki who was impressed by the four boys’ abilities.
Chagonda leaves first for America in January while the others will be leaving in August.
“Victor is leaving in January because he is already in possession of the SAT qualifications, which is a requirement to enrol at the university,” said the academy boss Bhekimpilo Nyoni.
“The other three will have to wait a little bit longer because they have to write the SAT examinations in January, it’s a standard requirement. The boys will be on a full sports scholarship and will be required to pay for their air tickets only and everything will be paid for by the university,” said Nyoni.
The players will get funding of between $18 000 to $30 000 to cover their studies and upkeep while they are in America.
Nyoni also said Kiki, who arrived in the country from Ghana last week where he was on a similar mission, was impressed with the talent that was showcased by the academy.
“Lara was impressed by the passion, determination, technical abilities, and the practical awareness shown by the boys during the two-day trials. He said Ghanaian kids have skill but they don’t have the passion which was shown by the local boys,” said Nyoni.
Nyoni said Lara took with him a video footage of the players to America, which he would share with his colleagues and other universities so that they could make a follow-up on any of the players that would have impressed them.
The aim at the end of their studies is to get the players into professional leagues in that country.
Already five students have benefited from the programme which started in 2008 and two of them are in their final year at Dayton University after which they will be offered to clubs that would have been scouting them during their time of study.
Nyoni said they were constantly monitoring the progress of the players in America whom he said had all been playing in the first teams.
Some of the players who have already benefited from the initiative include Regis Mawire at Central Arkansas University, Regis Soko at Brookes High School, Simon Marange, Tatenda Chimhanda and Tapiwa Machingauta at Bradley University.