Legendary goalie Brian Baloyi lands coaching job at LaLiga club academy in Joburg

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Brian Baloyi in action during one of LaLiga Fives Futbol events early this year. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Brian Baloyi in action during one of LaLiga Fives Futbol events early this year. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix


Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Brian Baloyi has joined the RCD Espanyol Academy in Johannesburg as head goalkeeper coach.

This follows the launch of the youth development institution in Johannesburg by the LaLiga club last weekend.

Baloyi, who also turned out for Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns during his glittering career, said he was excited about what the academy could achieve for South African football.

The 48-year-old said:

The interest in the Espanyol academy has been unbelievable. We’re getting highly skilled and talented youngsters from all walks of life. This is the first step of many to come.

“Personally, being involved in the academy of a LaLiga club is a big thing and a responsibility I do not take lightly. It’s brilliant, a real honour. More so in that one of my goalkeeping icons, Cameroon’s Thomas N’kono, is a former Espanyol player and is involved with the goalkeeping department of the club,” Baloyi said.

“He has helped provide many opportunities for young Cameroonian goalkeepers and I look forward to going to Spain to meet him. There is a lot I can learn from him and I am hoping to also develop young talent as he has. I am eager and can’t wait for this academy to really kick off.”

READ: LaLiga launches award for top-performing African stars

Meanwhile, the trials to recruit new talent for the academy from April 23 to May 1 attracted more than 5 000 boys and girls – from Under-8 to Under-19.

The academy is the first for a LaLiga club to be based in South Africa. The project is a partnership with IberCup, an expert in the international youth football development. It has facilitated LaLiga coaching camps around the country as well as the IberCup International Youth Football tournament.

Some of the hopefuls who attended trials at the RCD Espanyol Academy in Johannesburg over the past two weekends. Photo: supplied

Michael Bender, the RCD Espanyol Academy Johannesburg CEO and Ibercup SA said: “The support of the players and parents has been overwhelming and a complete revelation for us. We had players from Gauteng, the Western and the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Free State, and from as far afield as Lesotho, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.

The talent pool was beyond exceptional and we truly believe that given the rest of this year to develop the talent, we will be in a strong position to compete as an academy at the Ibercup in Portugal and the annual RCD Espanyol tournament and make South Africa proud.

“With more than 5 000 players going through the trial process, it proves this kind of initiative is desperately needed in South Africa.”

Albert Saus, head of RCD Espanyol’s international projects, was impressed by the turnout of the youngsters who descended on the grounds of St Stithians College in Sandton.

“The first days are a clear example of the club’s impact in the country and the potential of this academy in Johannesburg. We will keep on doing everything from our side to consolidate this project and ensure its success,” said Saus.

A major issue facing the selectors was providing the resources to the disadvantaged players for them to attend the trials.

Internet service provider Vumatel, the headline partner of the academy, provides a bursary programme, which will see a large number of players follow their dreams.

“We understand the difficulties faced by many of these talented children who, while fully deserving of the opportunity, simply do not have access to funding or resources to make their dreams a reality. We are proud to enable children from all across South Africa, and Africa, to participate in this first of its kind international youth football tournament. We look forward to seeing the long-term positive impact of our ongoing partnership continues,” said Lianne Williams, head of marketing at Vumatel.


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