Windhoek - Zambia's Tisilile Lungu and South Africa's Jessica Wade have been selected for a tour of Spain’s La Liga next year after sterling performances at the 2020 COSAFA Women's Under-17 Football Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa last week.
The duo was picked by The Technical Group, which analyses match performance and all aspects of action on the pitch as part of an initiative jointly run by the Council of Southern African Football Associations and Spain’s topflight league, La Liga.
Lungu was named Player of the Tournament while Wade captained her side with distinction, finishing as her team's top scorer with five goals.
The pair will get to train with Spanish sides, experience the required levels to be a footballer in one of Europe’s most competitive leagues; as well as sight see and indulge and – COVID-19 allowing – attend a La Liga match.
Wade told COSAFA.com, “It's an incredible opportunity and such a wonderful surprise. I had no idea something like this existed. To get the message that says you have an opportunity to go to Spain and train with local clubs and learn about their football culture is an incredible and such a wonderful opportunity."
Lungu also expressed her delight at the chance to go to Spain: "I'm so excited and I'm looking forward to meeting other people and to learn from them."
Lungu said her inspiration was countrywoman Barbara Banda, who has played in Europe and China.
"I do admire her, I also want to reach the position where Barbara Banda is. I also want to be there," she added.
Zambia fell 3-4 to Tanzania in the final.
Despite the Copper Princesses not winning the tourney, the team won the Fair Play Award and goalkeeper Chitete Munsaka scooped the Golden Glove.
South Africa, who were the defending champions, were knocked out in the semi-finals. En route to their third place finish, they thrashed neighbours Zimbabwe 7-0 and obliterated the Comoros 9-0.
The same opportunity won by Wade and Lungu will be availed to two male players at the 2020 COSAFA Men's Under-17 Championships that were scheduled to kick-off in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on November 19.