SA duo shine at Nike trials
Nike and David Luiz (File)
Cape Town - Charlie Teboho Tsotetsi and Melusi Zulu are the two South Africans who've made the first cut at this year’s Nike’s The Chance Global trials.
The duo were selected as part of the 52 semi-finalists to continue to the next round. Only three South Africans earned spots to represent their country in The Chance Global ‘Top 100’ football final from over 5 000 local and 100 000 international hopefuls.
In an action packed day, the 100 young football finalists from 55 countries waited anxiously to hear if their dream of being selected for the Nike Academy was still alive. The youngsters were congratulated by David Luiz, the Brazilian international who said: "When I was 14, I was rejected by one club and so I know what it is like to get a second chance. I was so hungry to fulfill my dream and I am sure they are too. Now they have to keep fighting. For the next two days they must give their body and soul."
For the disappointed 48, there were words of encouragement from the head coach, Jimmy Gilligan.
"Every player has been evaluated and debated upon by a very high calibre of coaching and scouting staff. It was a tough decision and a very emotional evening. I would say that we haven’t shattered dreams but derailed them and I would say to the guys leaving us that they now have to show a strong mentality and keep pursuing their goals."
The South African amateur players received the news with mixed emotions as they celebrated at hearing their names called, while already beginning the mental preparation ahead of the semi-final matches on Friday.
“I’ve worked hard so far, and the scouts and coaches watch your every move. It will be more intense during the play-off on Friday, and I must keep control of my game. All these players selected are very good, and I am now truly competing against some of the best from around the world,” said Melusi Zulu, the 16-year old from Soweto.
Charlie Tsotetsi has demonstrated a great fighting spirit since the local trials in South Africa in early June and has carried this spirit into the global competition. “I have to keep focused. The conditions are against me as it is very hot here, but I really want to impress the coaches as I believe in myself and my potential.”
Tsotetsi is from Heidelburg, and travelled two hours one way, for each of the three-day local trials in Johannesburg. “I can relate to David Luiz, as I also come from a very poor family, and I know that football can change my life. This is my chance to make the change.”
Friday’s action kicks off with two semi-final matches played from 10:00 in what is currently Spain’s worst heat wave to have hit the city. Scouts and coaches will monitor each of the 90 minute game, keeping a close watch on the players, and then head into the final deliberation before announcing the top 26 on Friday evening.
The top 26 will compete head to head in the final match on Saturday. During this time, the coaches will be looking for the best 16 who best demonstrate technical and tactical skill and the mental ability to go all the way. Only 16 players will be announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday evening. These 16 players will form The Chance 2012/13 team who will tour against the best youth academies including Manchester United, Juventus, and the US National Youth Team over an intense four weeks in early 2013. Remaining top 52:
# 40 Raoul Lombardo, Italy
# 72 Petar Golubovic, Serbia
# 93 Vladyslav Kolisnyk, Ukraine
# 7 Dario Van Den Buijs, Belgium
# 32 Dimitris Komnos, Greece
# 92 Jose Figura, United Kingdom
# 51 Emilio Rodea, Mexico
# 64 Kamil Piotrowski, Poland
# 100 Brian Iloski, United States
# 38 Andrea Ciribilli, Italy
# 11 Piero Malerba, Chile
# 57 Carlos Batista, Panama
# 16 Kevin David Salazar, Colombia
# 54 Ritchie Steinmann, Netherlands
# 79 Gonzalo Balbi, Spain
# 43 Yuki Yamanouchi, Japan
# 9 Jamerson Neves, Brazil
# 46 Young Jae Seo, Korea
# 90 Asleigh Artwell, United Kingdom
# 68 Kirill Laptev, Russia
# 81 José Manuel Barba, Spain
# 95 Jose Miguel Barreto, Uruguay
# 27 David Fernandes, France
# 44 Sang Jun Lee, Korea# 76 Teboho Charlie Tsotetsi, South Africa
# 97 Bryan Windsor, United States
# 52 Darryl Bobson, Holland
# 37 Avishay Cohen, Israel
# 39 Marco Di Lauro, Italy
# 61 Fernando Canales, Peru
# 18 Josip Guskovic, Croatia
# 24 Joel Bravo, Ecuador
# 84 Napapon Sripratheep, Thailand
# 60 Maurizio Costa, Paraguay
# 10 Tomás José Gellona, Chile
# 31 Bismark Kwarteng, Ghana
# 47 Alexis Khazzaka, Lebanon
# 74 Martin Kostal, Slovak Republic
# 3 Jorge Vallejos, Argentina
# 25 Xavier Delgado, Ecuador
# 2 Tomás Arrachea, Argentina
# 28 Matthieu Pironnet, France
# 65 Nuno Costa, Portugal
# 8 Wallace Camilo, Brazil# 77 Melusi Zulu, South Africa
# 6 Ismail H’Maidat, Belgium
# 78 Saifeddine Alami, Spain
# 83 Bubakary Sonko, Sweden
# 41 Ryosuke Kinoshita, Japan
# 73 Faris Bin Abdul Ramli, Singapore
# 96 Santiago Cabezudo, Uruguay
# 34 Dávid Jakab, Hungary
Visit The Chance homepage on NikeInc.com
to follow the daily action at the finals.