Charlie Teboho Tsotetsi, Nicholas Mynhardt and Melusi Zulu, all from Gauteng, will form part of the top 100 international players scouted from 55 countries in this year’s Nike’s The Chance football trial competition.
They will compete in the ultimate week-long football trial hosted at the famed youth academy of FC Barcelona in Spain.
In preparation for the finals, the players, who were selected from over 5 000 young hopefuls during the local trials in July, had the opportunity to train with Nike clubs Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.
Mynhardt, Tsotetsi and Zulu joined the first team of Sundowns in Chloorkop on August 6. Johan Neeskens, Sundowns’ coach and head scout for The Chance South Africa, tracked their every move.
“Nike’s The Chance competition is a true football challenge requiring physical, tactical, technical and mental preparation, and having tracked these players from the local final trial in July, I am very happy with their form. They are demonstrating the determination to succeed and their commitment is commendable,” the Dutchman said.
Neeskens and his team did not lay off the full training programme with the boys visiting, and opted to give them access to all drills while connecting with the professional players, who provided when needed.
“Preparation is a combination of mental and physical toughness, and I wish these players all of the very best while on trial.”
The aspiring hopefuls then joined the Amakhosi at the Chiefs Village on August 13. Stuart Baxter, joined by assistant coach and Nike’s The Chance Core Team Scout Arthur Zwane, and football legend Doctor Khumalo put the boys through their paces.
Playing alongside half of the national team was a huge boost to their self-esteem, and more importantly the tactical and technical advice shared by the trio of coaches will give the boys the competitive advantage.
The parting words from the coaches to the boys were consistent: “This is your chance to make your mark on the international playing field. Stay focused, use your technical and tactical ability, and more importantly, learn from yourself, each other and this international experience. It truly is a chance of a lifetime.”
The players depart on Saturday, returning on Monday, August 27. The top 16 winners of the competition will be announced at the closing ceremony dinner on August 25 in Barcelona.
Only 16 players will be selected for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour the world in four weeks and play against top international academy teams, including Manchester United.
Here they will not only be exposed to football at the highest level, but also be continuously monitored under the watchful eyes of international scouts, where only one player will then be selected to join the Nike Academy in the UK for four months.