LaLiga's Southern Africa footprint reaches KZN

LaLiga Southern Africa Managing Director, Marcos Pelegrin, presents an update on LaLiga's grassroots programme at St Stithians College in Johannesburg this week. Photo: Supplied

LaLiga Southern Africa Managing Director, Marcos Pelegrin, presents an update on LaLiga's grassroots programme at St Stithians College in Johannesburg this week. Photo: Supplied

Published Mar 11, 2023


Cape Town - LaLiga, the Spanish professional football organisation will continue to expand its international footprint in Southern Africa this month by rolling out a grassroots project.

In the past few months, LaLiga's global Grassroots programme, which by 2023 has reached 200 000 young players around the world and 25 000 coaches, was active in Harare (Zimbabwe), Lusaka (Zambia), Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Some burgeoning academies which have been spearheaded by Spanish Clubs in Southern Africa, include Celta Vigo's Academy in Evaton, Sebokeng, RCD Espanyol's Academy in Johannesburg, Real Betis' Academy in Harare and the FC Barcelona Academy in Lusaka.

Last month the LaLiga Grassroots initiative reached a spectacular milestone of over 640 projects led by 900 LaLiga coaches in almost 50 countries where the reach included over 200 000 players.

Later this month the LaLiga Camps be held for the first time in KwaZulu-Natal from 27 to 31 March. The camps are conducted by more than 900 of the best Spanish youth football coaches, selected for their high qualifications (university graduates, UEFA Pro licensed coaches), and national and international experience.

They all adhere to LaLiga’s values which include empathy, effort, and adaptability.

In South Africa (Johannesburg 2021, and Cape Town 2022) the LaLiga Camps were attended by 300 girls and boys footballers from under 10 to under 17 and 70 coaches. With ongoing work in these two cities, it is likely that the camps will expand to 450 junior footballers through 2023.

Another major highlight for LaLiga in Southern Africa has been the increasing number of LaLiga clubs that have opened up academies in the region. RC Celta reinforced its partnership with the Celta Vigo Academy in Evaton, Sebokeng, in 2022, with 200 young footballers now proudly representing RC Celta in South Africa.

RCD Espanyol also opened an Academy in Johannesburg in 2022, attracting over 5000 young boys and girls footballers to its first trials as the club’s local footprint continues.

In addition, through its partnership with the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), LaLiga has also sent 20 talented young footballers in the region to LaLiga Experiences in Spain to be exposed to first-hand coaching methods from LaLiga clubs.

LaLiga Southern Africa Managing Director, Marcos Pelegrin, was in Johannesburg this week to speak about the growing demand for camps in Southern Africa.

“We are proud in Southern Africa to have played an active part in the success of the LaLiga Grassroots programme and are very excited about the quality of the LaLiga Camps we have held to date in Johannesburg and Cape Town," said Pelegrin.

"We look forward to the first camps in KwaZulu-Natal and to continuing to make an impact in giving young Southern African footballers insight into LaLiga’s methodology and methods and in giving them a sense of what it takes to reach the highest levels of the game.

"We are also proud of the partnership with COSAFA that has allowed us to send 20 talented young Southern African footballers to experience LaLiga first-hand in Spain.

"LaLiga is a pioneer among the major European leagues in creating a network of academics, schools and training projects for players and coaches around the world focused on the comprehensive development of international talent thanks to its own methodology."