THE team which is set to represent Zimbabwe in the 2020 men’s Under-17 Cosafa Championship has been presented with a golden opportunity to prove its mettle, following Cosafa’s announcement that two top performing players will be rewarded with a life-changing trip to Spain for training and rehabilitation at selected La Liga Santander teams.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
The Cosafa tournament is set to commence on Thursday, ending on November 29.
The same opportunity was extended to the Under-17 girls whose tourney ended last week, with Zimbabwe performing dismally.
However the boys hope to do better and get the chance to be trained in Spain.
Eddie Mashiri leads the team as head coach, and though his selection has been questioned, the former Dynamos player hopes to silence his critics.
Cosafa secretary-general Sue Destombes said the initiative marked the beginning of developmental engagements with La Liga.
“This experience will be much more than just in the sights and sounds of Spain, it will show the two girls and two boys what it takes to be a professional player overseas.
“For most of the players who took part in the tournament, the dream is to be a professional footballer and for women across our southern African region, that is now an attainable goal.
“La Liga is one of the most prestigious football competitions in the world and learning on their experience and expertise will be a huge benefit for our members.
“But it takes hard work and dedication as well as skill and so a first-hand glimpse of what is required,” she said.
La Liga managing director for southern Africa Marcos Pelegrin said: “For La Liga, it is a great pleasure to provide the platform for both the boys and girls to go to Spain and get experience on how development football is for our Santander teams.
“They will get a chance to train with some teams and to compare themselves with Spanish equivalents.
“Also, if COVID-19 allows, we are hoping that they will get to watch one live La Liga Santander game.
“This trip will be great for their football development but even greater for their personal development.
“They will get to experience a different culture and expand their knowledge.
“This is the first project that we run with Cosafa since the signing of our agreement and we are looking forward to running more projects with them.”
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