The LaLiga soccer camps held in Cape Town this week gave some of the city’s aspiring youngsters exposure to high level coaching.
The week-long exercises in Green Point attracted 160 Under-10 to Under-18 boys and girls during the sessions led by LaLiga’s Uefa Pro-licenced coaches Sául Vázquez and José Ángel García.
Both tacticians said coming to South Africa to impart the Spanish league’s training methodology and style was a huge responsibility.
“We have had a super positive experience because the level [of talent] was much higher than we expected. You can see the talent in the players we have had and the physical and technical level of the players is good,” observed Vázquez, a former Deportivo de la Coruña coach.
He added that the hopefuls had considerable natural talent and ability.
Also of particular focus at the camps was to brush up on elements that needed improvement, such as players’ positional and tactical play, as well as decision-making.
García was equally impressed with the positive attitude and emotional maturity of the players and with the warm reception the LaLiga and Safa coaches received from the players.
For the young footballers, it was a memorable week that will live long in the memory.
“The camps were amazing. I loved it and I’ve learnt a lot. The coaches have been very supportive. I love football, it connects me with friends. It makes me feel free and I enjoy what I do,” said 16-year-old Morgan Barnard, a Real Madrid fanatic.
“The camps and coaches were fantastic, I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. The coaches were very patient and understanding,” said 16-year-old Clifford Junior Sibanda, also a Real Madrid fan. He hopes his passion for football and talent will lead to a professional football career and the opportunity to play for Bafana Bafana one day.
The local coaches who participated in the camps, facilitated by Safa Cape Town director of coaching Boebie Solomons, were grateful for the chance to broaden their knowledge and learn from the Spanish coaches. They included Hanover Park coach Anwar Galant and his Hellenic FC counterpart, Alex Mulongo.
The LaLiga camps are organised in partnership with IberCup, which is ranked among the largest international youth football tournaments in the world.