A dream deal
LAFIDA Academy and one of Europe’s leading sports agencies, CS Sports Management Limited, have teamed up for a dream project that could pave the way for teenaged Barbadian footballers to become professional players.
Co-founder of the St Philip-based Lafida Academy, Lennux Ferdinand told MIDWEEK SPORT he was extremely excited about the project with the English-based scouting firm.
“The plan is to put together 18 boys, aged 14 to 15 that are serious about wanting football as a professional career,” Ferdinand said, adding that trials were scheduled for January 22 at the King’s Park playing field in St Philip, while the final 22 outfield players and four goalkeepers would be selected on January 29.
“The final 26 will go through a pre two-month training programme in time for the final Show Event in April 2011,” added Ferdinand.
He said the Show Event would involve a game played in front of CS Sports Management’s Clasford Stirling MBE, who has provided many top players to the English clubs, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United and a qualified coach, who will select the final 18 for the programme.
“Once on the programme the boys will begin with four days of intense technical training, including a day for chalkboard and video sessions. During the school break the elite boys will travel and compete against other elite academies from the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Brazil, United States and France.
“We will also give them opportunity to display their talent to scouts and coaches from professional football clubs,” he added.
In explaining how the partnership was developed, Ferdinand said that two weeks ago a gentleman approached him while he was conducting a training session at the King George V Memorial Park and asked him if he was the owner of the academy and how long he was coaching.
“It did not dawn on me that this person was one of Europe’s top agents but two days later he came back with others. I was coaching at the Hilda Skeene Primary School under the lights and after my session I invited him to say a few words to the players,” Ferdinand said.
“He mentioned he was happy to work with me and then told me the company he owns and the players on his books. Two days later the agent rang me and we met to discuss the way forward and what the plans are.
“He mentioned he has been visiting Barbados a few times and have been looking to put back something to his mother’s country but didn’t see anything like what he saw on the Monday. He said it was like watching a training session at Liverpool or Manchester United.”
Previously, CS Sports Management has recruited many footballers such as Chelsea’s Solomon Kalou, Manchester United’s Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla’s Frédéric Oumar Kanouté, José Miguel González Rey (Josemi) of Liverpool and Mallorca, Stoke City’s Salif Alassane Diao, Leicester City’s Jack Hobbs, Rangers’ Madjid Bougherra and Khalilou Fadiga of Bolton Wanderers, as well as former England fast bowler Simon Jones and Italian coach Roberto Donadoni.