Johannesburg - Ryan Adams (20), Thulo Thibatsi (20) and Joshua Roman’s (21) dreams have come true.
The youngsters from South Africa have been selected for a trial with English club Chelsea FC.
WRAP: English Premiership
The three young men were selected during a countrywide search by the Shield Sbonisi’Diski, which aims to find South Africa’s next football stars.
The hopefuls were chosen out of 25 players, who underwent an intensive training skills programme at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria from June 31 to August 3.
Adams, who is from Durban, told City Press how it all started: “After going through trials in Durban in July, I received a call telling me I was selected to play in the finals in August in Pretoria.”
Due to a lack of opportunities that most South African youngsters face, Adams earned a living by working in construction.
“I was working as a construction worker until last year, then I joined Summerfield Dynamos Football Club,” he said.
Dynamos play in the SA Football Association second-tier division, officially known as the ABC Motsepe League.
But having found success among a pool of 600 players, he is hoping this is his breakthrough.
“I would like to get as many lessons as possible to help me improve my game.”
The campaign is in its second year, but now allows one outstanding player to be chosen to join Orlando Pirates’ reserve side in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge.
The player will be given a one-year contract to don the famous black and white colours.
Adams said he hoped to return from London a better player, and that he would be happy to join a team that was ambitious and wanted to win.
International development Chelsea FC head coach Laurence Griffin said: “More than anything, what we hope the players can take away from this trip, is the knowledge that Chelsea FC will impart to them.
“We have partnered with Shield on this great initiative to expand our mandate on football development, and we believe we can plant a seed in the players so they return home and share what they have learnt at Chelsea with other aspiring football players in South Africa.”
Apart from the three players, four additional players from the top 25 have been invited to join the Shield Africa XI team to train and play against Chelsea’s Invitational XI. Other players coming from Africa will include those from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Botswana.