Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Shield-Chelsea talent search enters its second stage with the coaches moving to Harare this weekend for trials where they will pick 15 aspiring footballers to join the other group selected in Bulawayo in May. The campaign is an initiative by Unilever through their Shield brand which partnered with Chelsea football to promote football at grassroots level by offering youths between the age of 18 and 25 the opportunity to showcase their talent.
The partnership will see one lucky Zimbabwean joining other Africans to form a team of Africa XI that will get an opportunity to have an insight of what it takes to train like champions and also play with Chelsea legends in the UK.
The trials will be overseen by former Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa, ex-Highlanders mentor Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, former Dynamos midfielder Naison Muchekela and former CAPS United player Alois Bunjira, who have all endorsed the initiative.
They were in Bulawayo on May 19 where they picked the first 15 at Gifford High School and they take their search to Alex Sports Club tomorrow.
The final 30 players will then go for a one-week boot camp session in July, after which three Chelsea coaches will come to Harare on July 25, to pick the final winner.
Pasuwa said after an exciting event in Bulawayo they are looking forward to another interesting experience in Harare tomorrow.
“We had an exciting event in Bulawayo. The youths who came showed a lot of football zeal. We are very proud to be part of this campaign.
“This is exactly what Zimbabwean football needs to develop its youth.
“Not only does this open an opportunity for youths to realise their dreams.
“But that lucky youth will gain exposure and learn a lot from playing alongside other Africans when they take on the Chelsea Legends,” said Pasuwa.
To enter the competition one has to purchase any Shield product and send their bar code or a picture of the receipt via WhatsApp.
Shield brand manager, Susan Luneta, said the stage is set for the Harare event.
“All is now set for the Harare trials and we look forward to a larger turn out. So far we have received an overwhelming response with more than 2000 entries received on our WhatsApp and SMS platforms over the last few weeks.
“Those who have not yet entered the competition can still come through to Alex Sports Club on Saturday at 7.30am provided they have a Shield deodorant product with them,” Luneta added.
Luneta said they are delighted to be able to provide a platform for aspiring footballers to showcase their talent.
“The Bulawayo trials were very successful. We were surprised at the levels of talent we saw at Gifford.
“It showed us that this campaign is a worthy cause as we saw there is so much untapped talent among the youth of this country and we are glad we can provide a platform that opens avenues for youths to express their talent,” said Luneta.