Two players from the just-concluded Cosafa Under-17 women’s tournament [https://www.cosafa.com/] in Port Elizabeth have been chosen to go to Spain and be immersed in that country’s football culture.
South Africa’s Jessica Wade and Zambia’s Tisilile Lungu were chosen by the technical study group at the tournament, which concluded on Saturday.
The duo will get to train with local clubs, experience a LaLiga game and much more as part of a new partnership signed between Cosafa and the prestigious Spanish league.
The same opportunity will be afforded to two players after the Cosafa men’s Under-17 championship, which starts at in Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday.
Cosafa and LaLiga have teamed up to give two young players “the opportunity to further develop their skills and brush shoulders with some of the league’s best players”, says Sue Destombes, the general secretary of Cosafa.
Marcos Pelegrin, LaLiga southern Africa managing director, says: “We have a lot planned for this collaboration from a leadership, marketing and training perspective. It’s going to make a real difference on the ground for players and fans.
“Also, if Covid-19 allows, we are hoping that they will get to watch one live LaLiga Santander game.”
The Spanish football development system is a complex nest and breeding ground that produces technical footballers. The most popular academies include La Masia of Barcelona, Lezama of Athletic Bilbao and La Fábrica of Real Madrid.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, Cosafa and LaLiga “will be organising activities [like the U-17 women and men’s trips], conferences and workshops around Southern Africa,” a statement from LaLiga said.
“In early 2021, [the two players] will be able to observe training sessions at elite clubs, learn the football culture and possibly take in a LaLiga fixture,” a statement from Cosafa added.
Tanzania were crowned champions of the women’s Under-17 championship after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Zambia in Saturday’s final.
South Africa finished third after a 9-0 win over the Comoros Islands in their final match on Thursday.