LaLiga campaigners RCD Espanyol have announced that their academy in South Africa will open its doors this weekend.
The opening of the RCD Espanyol de Barcelona Academy Johannesburg makes the Spanish club the first from LaLiga to open a training centre in the country.
Expected to grace the occasion is Joan Capdevila, a former Espanyol Academy graduate and LaLiga legend.
Some South Africans will remember Capdevila from the Fifa World Cup held on these shores in 2010.
He featured in every minute for Spain on their way to winning the tournament.
To mark the official opening of the academy, Espanyol will host trials for aspiring boys and girls aged eight to 18 at St Stithians College in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on Saturday and Sunday.
According to the club, registration is at 8.30am and the trials will start at 10am.
The trials, which are offered for free, will be held again on April 30 and May 1.
The Johannesburg academy is the 11th that Espanyol has opened around the world.
Michael Bender, the CEO of the new academy, said: “This partnership is a milestone for youth football in South Africa and we are proud to be the first company to achieve this in South Africa. More importantly, RCD Espanyol will provide us with the full support of their coaches, who will visit us and train our coaches to find the best talent the country has to offer irrespective of their socioeconomic standing. The RCD Espanyol academy is committed to providing as many talented disadvantaged players as possible with a full sponsorship, including their kit, transport and educational opportunities.”
Bender said they were looking forward to welcoming Capdevila to help “make an impact that will start to change the landscape of opportunity for our youth through football”.
The Johannesburg academy has secured the partnership of local brand Vumatel, which will be the headline sponsor for the next five years.
The project has been developed along with IberCup, which has hosted LaLiga camps across the country.