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MBABANE – Athletico Madrid’s football star Thomas Partey has invited players from Eswatini Soccer Academy to come for trials in his Spanish football club, Alcobendas.

The 27-year-old Ghanaian player, who is regarded as one of the finest footballers in the world, partnered with three of his Spanish advisors to seal a complete take-over of the third division club based in Madrid. The four partners bought the club in July last year.

According to Professional Soccer Management Director Emmanuel Emenogue, this invitation is open to the 45 young players who were selected to form the Eswatini Soccer Academy during the Eswatini open trials, which started in February and were unfortunately halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcobendas is one of the European teams that agreed to partner with Emenogue in helping African players whose dream is to establish a secured career abroad.

could not wait

Through a video clip shared with this publication by Emenogue, Partey said he could not wait for the players to come for trials in his club.
“I can’t wait to see you guys here in Spain and to see you in our team. I hope you guys will be excellent for us,” said Partey.

Emenogue said this invitation was a big thing for Eswatini and the development of the sport in the country. He said that Partey was a role model to many African players as he understood and knew the pain of leaving Africa to go for trials in     Europe, since he came from a poor background but his family supported his dream and even sold land plus other family valuables in order to buy him a plane ticket to Europe.

“We need people like Partey because he knows what it means for an African child to go for trials in Europe. He knew how much his family had sacrificed to avail him this opportunity and he worked hard to get where he is today,” said Emenogue.

development plans
He further assured that Partey would be coming to Eswatini in the near future and would get to meet with Eswatini Football Association (EFA) authorities and would discuss future development plans. He said that the Eswatini Soccer Academy would continue grooming a pool of players who would substitute those that will get signed by other teams. He further stated that when the players get to Europe, they would set up a structure where they will develop using European standards and methods.
“This programme will benefit the football association and the national team because the players will get European exposure, adopt their standard of play and return to implement it back at home,” said Emenogue.

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