Spain’s LaLiga Santander and leading side Villarreal CF will be providing the opportunity of a lifetime for one young star competing at the on-going COSAFA Qualifiers for TOTAL U-20 AFCON, Mauritania 2021 with the chance to sample one of the world’s great football nations first-hand.
The Player of the Tournament at the zonal preliminary competition being staged in Nelson Mandela Bay will receive a special LaLiga ‘experience’, where they will be hosted by Villarreal CF and get the chance to train with the club’s much-vaunted academy team.
They will also have a meet-and-greet with the first team, a tour of the club’s world-class training facilities and their legendary Estadio de la Cerámica home, as well as, COVID-19 dependent, take in a Villarreal CF fixture in LaLiga.
That is just sample of what awaits the footballer, who will be chosen by the COSAFA Technical Study Group at the tournament, in what is a wonderful opportunity to see the level required to be a professional in Europe’s top leagues.
“Seeing one of our members offering to African players the chance to get such a special trip, makes us extremely happy.” LaLiga’s Southern Africa Manager Marcos Pelegrin states. “This will not only be a great technical experience, but an even better personal experience. Being exposed to different cultures helps to one’s own development, and we are also positive that Villarreal’s staff will learn from the player too.”
The Yellow Submarine are coached by Unai Emery and are currently third in LaLiga, and have always been a happy home for Africa’s stars, including arguably the top talent from the continent in the league today, Nigeria striker Samuel Chukwueze.
“We are very excited to contribute to this amazing collaboration between LaLiga and COSAFA, promoting youth football development in Africa. For Villarreal, our Academy and our local community are the heart of our club, they keep us moving forward. We are happy to share our methods, vision and commitment to our sport with COSAFA’s young player, with the hopes we can bring something back to Africa’s football.”
Added Juan Anton De Salas, Director of International Business for Villarreal CF.LaLiga and COSAFA have recently signed a memorandum of understanding that will see them embark on a number of exciting projects in the coming years.
Already LaLiga will provide Spanish football experiences for four young stars from the recently completed COSAFA Men’s and Women’s Under-17 Championships that were also held in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Zambians Joseph Banda and Tisilile Lungu, and South Africans Mduduzi Shabalala and Jessica Wade, will also travel to Spain next year.
“We are very proud of our partnership with LaLiga Santander and thank them for the incredible opportunities they are providing to our young players in the region,” COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes says.
“We must send our gratitude as well to Villarreal CF for the platform they are providing for one of our Under-20 stars. The knowledge the player will gain in their week at the club will no doubt be invaluable in their professional careers.
“We look forward to many more such opportunities for players in the future as we continue with our mandate to develop football in the Southern African region.”