November 28, 2021

Two COSAFA U17 women’s players headed for Spanish adventure

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As part of LaLiga’s ongoing commitment to nurture and develop young football talent across the country, the leading football association has once again partnered with the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) to send two promising local stars to Spain next year.

Zambia’s Tisilile Lungu and South Africa’s Jessica Wade are the two lucky players who were selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) after their impressive performance during the recent COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship in Port Elizabeth.

Lungu won Player of the Tournament after scoring five fantastic goals during the championship and sealing her team’s spot in a dramatic penalty shoot-out final against Tanzania. The Zambian currently plays for Kafue Celtic and has a very promising football career ahead of her.

Seventeen-year-old Wade plays midfielder for JVW, Janine van Wyk’s first team. As the current captain of Banyana Banyana – the South African Women’s Football Team – van Wyk is the ideal coach for young girls, inspiring them to reach their dreams in a predominantly male-dominated sport. Needless to say, Wade has been trained by the best of the best. More so, the young footballer already visited Spain when LaLiga sponsored a stage for the South African U17 Women’s National Team prior to the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.

“It’s an incredible opportunity and such a wonderful surprise, I had no idea something like this existed,” Wade told COSAFA.com. “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 incredible and such a wonderful opportunity.”

Wade admits that her South Africa side had hoped to go all the way in the competition.
“It was more the results actually than how we played. It was unfortunate to end where we did, but the two teams that finished at the top deserved to be there and played better football than us.

“Individually, I didn’t have a bad tournament. It wasn’t absolutely fantastic because I couldn’t do for the team what I would have liked.”

Lungu is also delighted with the chance to go to Spain and test her skills there. “I’m so excited and I’m looking forward to meeting other people and to learn from them,” she says, adding she hoped to emulate the likes of current senior national team star Barbra Banda, who has played in Europe and China.

The deserving duo will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience to train with Spanish development clubs, watch a LaLiga match live, and immerse themselves in the local culture with various exciting activities on the cards.

“We are thrilled to be able to send two rising female football stars to Spain to experience how development teams work within our LaLiga clubs. Further, we are extremely happy to have created this platform for young Southern African players with COSAFA and we are excited to see how our partnership will positively impact football for local players and fans alike,” added Marcos Pelegrin, LaLiga Southern Africa Managing Director.

The exact details of the trip are yet to be confirmed, but it is set to take place around August or September 2021 for between seven and ten days. Additionally, the same opportunity will be given to two players from the COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship.

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