Shield-Chelsea champ back home

HARARE - Shield-Chelsea Zimbabwe champion Joseph Mandevani returned home from the United Kingdom where he spent one week training at the English Premiership log leaders’ Cobham base.

Mandevani believes it was a lifetime experience which he will use to launch his career as a professional footballer. At Cobham, the Zimbabwean got the chance to rub shoulders with Chelsea legends such as Michael Essien and current Blues players Victor Moses and N’Golo Kante.

“It was a great experience. I learnt a lot and there’s a whole lot of difference with African football,” the Glen View-bred aspiring footballer said.

“For instance, I observed we did more of the ball drills during warm ups, whereas here in Africa, we do more of running so there was a big difference in that regard.

“Hopefully, this experience will lead me into another step, another level…I also made a lot of connections so I’m hoping that I’m going to play in the professional leagues.

“I think this platform gave me an opportunity to explore not only about football but also we had a day that we toured England to learn about the history of England as well.

“It was a great experience meeting the likes of Essien; we had a chat and they also gave us word of motivation.”

To be chosen, Mandevani shrugged of stiff competition from hundreds of other youths, who attended the initial trials that were held in Bulawayo and Harare.

After the trials, 30 amateur footballers were chosen to take part in a final boot camp that also saw Chelsea development coaches Laurence Griffin, Steve O’ Reilly and Freddie Myers join in as well.

Mandevani emerged as the best talent to represent Zimbabwe in the Africa select team during that boot camp.

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