SA pair win Nike's Most Wanted spot


Tshepo Mamabolo and Tholang Lwana were selected from a group of 16 players who took part in a weekend of phenomenal football during the South African Nike Most Wanted finals held at the Nike Football Training Centre Soweto from the 24th to the 26th of October.

Previously known as The Chance, Nike Most Wanted has fast become a respected platform to scout footballers who show promise, fast-tracking them into professional structures. Previous winners from South Africa include Nicholas Mynhardt, Malusi Zulu, Waylan Rooi and Reyaad Pieterse.

“The Nike Most Wanted tournament represents Nike’s ongoing commitment to the development of football at grassroots level. We have seen great talent through the years. Since the first South African edition in 2010, more than 15 Nike Most Wanted graduates have gone on to realise their dreams of securing a professional contract in South Africa or abroad,” says Seruscka Naidoo, communications manager of Nike South Africa.

The trials were overseen by renowned football coaches and specialists who monitored the overall discipline and determination of the players. Other factors that were closely assessed were speed, agility, endurance and tactical play during drills and small sided games.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity. The trials were hard but I gave it my all and I’m very excited about going to train at the Nike Academy with some of the best coaches. When you are on the global stage you could be noticed by one of the big scouts. That would be a dream come true for me,” says Lwana.

“I’m proud to have been chosen. It was tough and fast-paced but I’m excited to learn from the best in the UK,” says Mamabolo.

“I’ve looked up to Reyaad Pieterse who was part of Most Wanted and is now the number two goalie at Kaizer Chiefs,” he says.  

Mamabolo and Lwana will travel to the Nike Academy based at St. George’s Park to compete against the top UK academy teams in front of scouts and agents in search of skilled footballers. 

The last player to have succeeded with the Nike Most Wanted program is Johannesburg‘s Waylan Rooi. He caught the interest of coaches after winning the Africa Nike Most Wanted tournament earlier this year. Rooi was then selected as one of the global winners and is currently contracted to the Nike Academy in the UK; making him the third South African to earn a spot in the global Nike Most Wanted program.