Former AC Milan star scouts for talent



MASERU – Africa Global Soccer Showcase, in collaboration with World Wide Scholarships (WWS), Italia Calcio Coaching and The Lombardia Uno AC Milan Technical Centre, will be conducting football trials to scout for talented soccer players in Lesotho. Through the skills of former AC Milan star, Claudio Balesini, WWS will host a two-day coaching and trials camp with players ranging from the Under-12s to the Under-23s.

Balesini, who played in the AC Milan golden era alongside Franco Baresi, Carlo Ancelotti, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Fillippo Inzaghi and several other stars when the club was ranked the most successful in the world, will be imparting skills to talented young people during the programme.

Balesini has taken up a position as the youth director at WWS’ flagship South African Football Academy and will develop age-specific player programmes, implement coach selection and development programmes, design high-performance training and a continent-wide African player identification network to link promising young athletes with international amateur and professional opportunities.

The academy is a collaboration between Italia Calcio Coaching and WWS, and so far Balesini has been responsible for implementing the set-up of over 40 AC Milan academies worldwide. CEO of WWS, Munya Maraire, said in a statement released in Maseru that this is a new dawn for Lesotho and a great compliment to the development structures of the federation.

“We are looking to work much closer with the federation and to have a more formal presence in this great country because there are many hidden talents there. “We are also happy to comment that players with soccer and academic credentials will be linked to university scholarships through our university linking services as they use their soccer to gain a university education overseas,” he continued.

Maraire said, “We are excited to send Claudio Balesini to Lesotho. He has incredible experience in talent identification which he showed when he worked as AC Milan technical director of youth. Chosen players will undergo rigorous preparation at the WWS Academy in South Africa where they will prepare for trials in Italy.

“The trials will begin with an assessment at the Lombardia Uno AC Milan Technical Centre and will progress to players being linked with individual club trials hard on their ability throughout Europe.”

As a WWS representative in Lesotho, Nyasha Mabiza speaking in an interview with this publication said WWS has been going around many African countries scouting for talented young soccer players in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria – and they know that Lesotho has a lot of untapped talent and cannot be left behind.

“We are expecting over a hundred candidates and the ultimate goal is if we register 200 talented young people in the three days of the trials, then through them we will open and operate a WWS academy here in Lesotho, that can develop these young people further and then connect them with established clubs globally.

“While WWS is connected to AC Milan, the opportunities will not be limited to the Italian club only,” he added. The WWS programme in Lesotho was scheduled to commence on March 26 and 27, but has since been postponed indefinitely due to complications with sponsors.

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