A 12-year-old boy from Mitchell’s Plain has his eyes fixed firmly on Manchester, after being selected to participate in an international football programme, taking place in the United Kingdom, later this year. Craig Alcock, an award-winning goal keeper for West End United Football Club in Athlone has been chosen out of several top players to participate in the Bolton Wanderers Football Programme.The annual programme offers participants and teams from across the world an opportunity to live and train like professional football players, and takes place from Sunday 30 September to Sunday 7 October. The Grade 7 learner from Highlands Primary School comes from a sporting family and is motivated and guided by those close to him, he says.He dreams of being as good as Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.But R33 000 is needed before the young player can fly off with the rest of his teammates. His excited family is now calling on the public to support him, and to make his dreams of representing his country and gaining necessary soccer skills, materialise. His father Brian Alcock, an employee at the Athlone District Advice Office, says relatives are now embarking on several fundraising events to make up for the cost. The fee will cover travelling costs, a week’s accommodation and food. “My son is lucky to have been invited by Simsport International in conjunction with UAE-South Africa, to participate in this programme. He was selected through the Clean Catch Goalkeeping Academy, which he also attends, along with three other children who are set to partake in different programmes across the world between now and next year,” explains his proud father.“Craig is very talented and started playing soccer at a very young age, and has now grown to a point that his potential has earned him various awards over the past few years.” The spirited player started his soccer journey at the age of eight when he joined Cape Town All Stars in Salt River. From there he was invited to join the West End United FC in Mitchell’s Plain, and represented the Mitchell’s Plain Union in their board games. He also went for trials with Ajax Cape Town in 2017.Some of Craig achievements to date include being placed as the Mitchell’s Plain Football Union 2017 u.12 Goalkeeper of the Year for two years in a row, the u.12 West End United Player of the Year, Most Outstanding Player of the Year and Sportsman of the Year.The diverse group of soccer players selected for the programme are set to stay and play at the Bolton Wanderers Football Club for the ultimate pro-club experience, and will get a rare behind the scene, and an all-access area tour of Macron Stadium.The programme includes sessions on strength and conditioning, health and nutrition workshops, in addition to team and individual analysis and tactics, and further includes pre-arranged excursions to local attractions, theme parks and premier league stadium tours. The family has only managed to raise R11 000 to date and needs to come up with the remaining cost before the end of next month.To help raise funds for the boy’s trip, the Athlone Advice Office has jumped in by offering their assistance to bring in the remaining funds. Tickets to view Jayson Kings Midnight Train to Mowtown will show at the Joseph Stone Auditorium on Saturday 14 July at 20:00, in aid of the young soccer player.Tickets cost R120 per person and can be obtained from the advice office situated in Gateville Centre. Those who cannot attend the show may make a donation directly to the family. V For more information call Brian Alcock on 021 836 9421 or 083 747 5901.