TWO Northern Areas lads are disappointed after missing out on a dream trip to Barcelona but say they had a wonderful time nonetheless.
Two weeks ago NMMU students Warren Kops and Kieran Koert , both 20, joined 42 hopefuls from around the country in the “Nike The Chance SA” finals at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto.
“Of course I am disappointed, but it was a wonderful learning experience,” said Kieran, a midfielder who made it onto the short-list.
He plays for NMMU Madibaz in the Pefa Premier League having previously played for Fairview Rovers since his under-nine days .
“We were exposed to training methods we had never experienced before, and of course we got to interact with people like Shaun Bartlett and Arthur Zwane who we only see on TV,” added Warren who plays for Saints in the Nafa Premier League.
He has Nafa colours in every age group and played for the seniors in the national Inter-LFA tournament last month.
Both boys vowed to give the trials another go next year.
“We will be a year older and wiser, and better prepared because we know what the coaches are looking for,” they added.
More than 5500 aspiring footballers, aged between 16 and 22, competed in the regional trials in five cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Bloemfontein.
The 46 players were put through an intense programme to measure their skills on the field. It included physical tests conducted by fitness specialist Elsa Storm and coaches Shaun Bartlett, Tebogo Moloi, Craig Rosslee and Arthur Zwane over three days.
On the final day 28 players were short-listed to play a full 90-minute match at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
At the end of the match three players were chosen to represent South Africa at the global finals in Barcelona.
There they will compete against finalists from 55 nations around the world for a place in an elite 16-man Nike squad that will train at Nike clubs globally.