AFTER seven months of absence due to the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the world, Soccer Excellence Academy (SEA) has resumed trainings.
The academy that has greatly contributed to the development of grassroots soccer players and coaches, resumed its programmes on Saturday at the Bank of Zambia sports complex with over 50 players from different age groups but below 16.
SEA operations director and head coach with a CAF C licence, Malcolm Chizyuka told The Mast Sports that seven months was quite a long period to have young talent just sitting home.
“Seven months is quite a lot of time, and from what we have seen from our players that have come back, a lot of them have gained weight. So, training sessions are almost starting all over,” he said. “We understand that the players missed playing football, especially with the leagues that we didn’t complete with the under 12, 10, 15 and 16 leagues. So, hopefully we can finish all those leagues before the end of the year.”
Chizyuka however expressed confidence that players had not lost skill.
“It is very interesting that the players have gained weight but they have not lost the touch of football because from today’s (Saturday) training drill, yes, maybe we didn’t do much. But it was good to see that they still have it and going forward we want to work on them because at the moment I don’t think they work in a full 90-minute game like for the older boys,” said Chizyuka.
And SEA public relations and marketing manager Mathangeni Ngoma said management had put in place all COVID-19 health guidelines in place and the players were safe.
“It’s good to be back in an outdoor environment and be with the kids, but their safety is our goal. And we are following FIFA and the World Health Organisation’s health guidelines,” said Ngoma. “The kids came in numbers, the return was good, you could appreciate one thing that we have had almost everyone who went, which means, you know, we didn’t have any incidents. However, we have to adjust our trainings according to FIFA regulations with health guidelines put in place. But, overall, I think it feels good.”