French soccer scout in Zim

HARARE - Friendly Academy technical director Patridge Muskwe has embarked on an ambitious project of trying to get a number of young local players to break through into the French Ligue 1.

Muskwe believes if they can get a good number of local players into one of Europe’s top flight leagues at an early age, then one day the Warriors can reap the rewards by eventually qualifying for their first ever World Cup.

Friendly Academy in conjunction with Associated Foods Zimbabwe, the producers of Mamma’s and Farmgold range of products, entered into partnership with a French-based  Academy — Foot Breizh Academie — aimed at exporting young local talent to France.

The programme will see players from the age of 12 joining Foot Breizh Academie which is based in Brittany about 500km outside of Paris, where they would then be seconded to Ligue 1 teams to pursue professional careers.

Foot Breizh Academie director Salomon Yannick is in the country for a week as he begins his scouting mission with those making the grade expected to leave for France later this year.

Muskwe said: “As an Academy, I think we are in the right direction because if we really want to be on the football map like the World Cup we should be able to send our players to Europe to develop their skills.

“So we need to come up with a plan and for me I have a five-year plan. I am sure when these players reach the age of 18 they will be a quality act and good enough to take us to the World Cup.”

Muskwe said they would start with sending 16 players and have since invited youngsters from around the country to converge at Raylton Sports Club starting this morning where Yannick will be identifying the talent.

“There are a lot of school children who are going to be selected and we have tried our best to go as far as rural areas to ensure we reach all corners,” Muskwe said.

“If they can’t make it here we will try and go to their schools.”

Yannick said those that would have made the grade stand a chance of playing for some of the top teams in France as well as in Europe.

“We normally organise training sessions where scouts from France and across Europe would come and select the best players and put them in professional setups,” Yannick said.

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