Harare - Zambia Under-20 captain Prince Mumba - who was named Player of the Tournament at the recent COSAFA Championships – has earned the opportunity of a lifetime by being selected to travel to Spain for an attachment with La Liga Santander side Villarreal CF.
La Liga and COSAFA have an MoU to develop football talent in Southern Africa, with one of the agreements being that the player of the tournament at junior regional tourneys gets a chance to experience Spanish football and culture.
“We are very excited to contribute to this amazing collaboration between La Liga and COSAFA, promoting youth football development in Africa. 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,” said Juan Anton De Salas, director of international business at Villarreal.
Mumba will travel to Spain next year with fellow Zambians Joseph Banda and Tisilile Lungu, and South Africans Mduduzi Shabalala and Jessica Wade, who were also named players’ of the tournament in the COSAFA Men’s and Women’s Under-17 Championships.
The players will get to train with the Villarreal CF Academy team.
During their tour of Spain, the players will have a meet-and-greet with the first team, a tour of the club’s world-class training facilities and its legendary Estadio de la Cerámica home, as well as to watch a Villarreal home fixture.
COSAFA general secretary Sue Destombes hailed La Liga Santander for availing such opportunities to upcoming footballers.
“We are very proud of our partnership with La Liga Santander and thank them for the incredible opportunities they are providing to our young players in the region. 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,” said Destombes.
La Liga Southern Africa manager Marcos Pelegrin weighed in: “Seeing one of our members offering to African players the chance to get such a special trip, makes us extremely happy. This will not only be a great technical experience, but an even better personal experience. Being exposed to different cultures helps one's own development, and we are also positive that Villarreal’s staff will learn from the player too.”