The impact of Barcelona Academy of Lusaka players in the Zambia U17’s run at the COSAFA U17 Cup in South Africa has impressed Spain’s top flight league organization LaLiga.
Eight players from Lusaka’s Barca Academy prominently featured at the Port Elizabeth tournament held from November 22-19 where Zambian finished second to hosts South Africa.
“As LaLiga, it is great to see our clubs opening academies in Africa at large,” said LaLiga South Africa managing director Marcos Pelegin.
“Even better when those academies produce players that can be enrolled in their national teams and strengthen local and foreigner leagues. What FC Barcelona is doing in Zambia, likewise as Real Betis now in Zimbabwe, are always good news for the football industry in general and those football fraternities in particular.”
In addition, seven out of Zambia’s ten goals at the 2020 COSAFA U17 tournament were scored by Barca Academy players that saw striker Joseph Sabobo Banda take home the Golden Boot with his five goals.
Sabobo’s Baca Academy club mate and Zambia U17 goalkeeper Eric Makungu also won the tournaments Golden Glove Award.
Furthermore, Sabobo is heading for a LaLIga training camp together with COSAFA U17 Player of the Tournament Mduduzi Shabalala of South Africa.
The initiative is part of LaLiga and COSAFA’s strategic technical partnership for both men’s and women’s junior football structures that is entering its second year.
Meanwhile, Zambia lost the COSAFA U17 final to South Africa 4-2 post-match penalty loss after they finished 1-1 at fulltime.
But both Zambia and South Africa have qualified for the Morocco 2021 AFCON U17 after securing the COSAFA zone’s two qualifying slots in Port Elizabeth.
The 2020 COSAFA U17 Cup was used the Southern Zone’s 2021 AFCON U17 qualifier event.