Twenty-four junior footballers have landed scholarships at the renowned ASPIRE Academy in Doha, Qatar, according to a panapress report.
Of the 24, three are Kenyans – Reuben Muthini, George Ouma and Khalid Ali. The other players were from Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal and all the players had reportedly excelled in trials that attracted 430,000 players.
The 24, all born in 1994, topped the list in their respective countries during the selection run under the aegis of the ASPIRE Africa Football Dreams Project.
They will live, study, train and develop their skills at the academy – with a view to forging a career in professional football, according to the organizers.
It took a network of 6,000 sports and development professionals, 700 fields and close to 26,000 games across the seven Nations to select the 24 successful players.
The Senegalese players selected are Ibrahim Diedhiou, Samba Ndiaye and Diawandou Diagne.
Cameroon – Guy Kamga, Arabo Nyeri, Arsene Foti and Lionnel Chounga.
Nigeria – John Felagha, Jasper Uwaegbulam, Anthony Bassey and Adamu Abdullahi.
Ghana – Hamza Zakari, Bernard Appiah and Adama Issah.
South Africa – Phakamani Ndumiso, Happy Simelela and Ntuthuko Radebe.
Morocco – Jaouad Aboud, Mabarek Atouif and Mehdi Mazi
In Kenya, a former national team, Harambee Stars, team manager, Anthony Origi, was the local Sports Project Manager who had to sieve through 25,000 registered participants from three centres in Kisumu, Nairobi and Kericho to select the trio .
ASPIRE is an academy for sports excellence.
It is an elite facility that aims to identify, educate and train talented athletes to compete in professional sports at the highest levels.
It provides an exceptional learning environment, including full educational and recreational facilities, advanced dormitories, an amphitheatre, lecturehalls, seven outdoor football training fields, and state-of-the-art weight rooms and physiotherapy.
The Academy is distinguished by a philosophy which aims to develop the whole student, providing them with full academic and sports development so that they have the widest possible range of opportunities in adult life.
ASPIRE Africa was built upon a partnership between ASPIRE Academy, BSM (Bonus Sports Marketing), Nike and ART (Arab Radio and Television).
It is supported by the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace, the sports and education ministries in the respective countries and their footb all federations.