Five Zambian boys have won themselves a trip to the Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academy in Ohio, USA, following their participation in the Barclays Grassroots Soccer cup held in Lusaka April 21st. The boys were selected from among 120 participants.
Zambian National Team Coach, Patrick Phiri, was part of the scouting team that held tryouts the day after the tournament. 40 talented young players were chosen based on their tournament play to tryout for a spot at the 2007 PSA camp. Coach Phiri was so impressed by these young players that he vowed to create an Under 15 National Team to help build on their talent and groom them to represent Zambia in the years to come.
The five chosen players will travel to the United States for Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academy Camp from 25th to 30th June 2007 in which 150 boys selected from around the world spend 6 days in an all expenses paid summer soccer camp in Ohio, USA.
- William Phiri – age 13 years, is from Breakthrough Sports Academy and lives in Garden Township. He plays in the Lusaka U-17 amateur league and was top scorer from the Kidsafe League being played at the Italian Club.
- David Sakala – age 15 years, is also from Breakthrough Sports Academy and lives in Chaisa Township with his grandmother. This is the third time he is attending soccer camp and has also been to Norway and Bolivia in his quest to become a better player.
- Andrew Mapulanga – age 14 years, is from Chiparamba Youth Football Academy and lives in Kalinglinga Township. Andrew was one of the best attacking midfield players during the 2007 Barclays Grassroot Soccer Cup, and has been playing for Chiparamba since he was 11.
- Mwape Kalunga – age 14 years, has played football since he was four years old and comes from the Kalusha Bwalya Foundation.
- Chomba Mununga – age 14 years, from Kalim Sports Academy, is one boy who impressed National Team Coach Patrick Phiri during trials. Chomba is a right back with the ability to defend and overlap aggressively in support of attack.
Among the boys who went to the USA last year for the 2006 Premier Soccer Academy Camp was Yoram Mwila, now a key player in the under-17 Zambian National Team and recently drafted into the U-20 Zambian National Team currently preparing for the Youth World Cup in Canada later this year.
The 2007 Soccer Camp will see the boys receiving instruction from among others Brad Friedel and top coaches from Blackburn Rovers, as well as John Barnes, star of Liverpool FC and the England National team of the late eighties and early nineties. The camp is structured after professional team training camps abroad and the US National Soccer Team experiences.
The Barclays – Grassroot Soccer Partnership is in its third year now and recently graduated another 26 teachers on 25th April from a five-day workshop where they were trained on how to teach the Grassroot Soccer HIV/AIDS prevention programme to youth throughout Lusaka. Leah Dozier, the Grassroot Soccer Zambia Director, estimates that each instructor can teach at least 30 students per term and up to 100 per year, meaning the newly trained teachers will therefore graduate nearly 2,600 boys and girls within the next year.