Three South African talents were selected by a former Kaizer Chiefs star to train at Chelsea and had the time of their life during their visit at Stamford Bridge, with the highlight being David Luiz trying to pronounce Mpumalanga.
Click through the gallery to see the highlights of the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Shield South Africa and Chelsea had teamed up to scout over 500 talents across five towns in South Africa and ex-Amakhosi defender Siphiwe Mkhonza was conducting the sessions while sharing his emotional story.
The top 25 were invited to a final trial week, where coaches from Chelsea’s youth academy selected the three winners – namely Quade Roskruge, Joshua Roman and Alanzo Khun.
The trio now visited Chelsea’s training facilities as well as their 3-1 win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge and were treated like part of the family.
“We stood pitch side as the players warmed up and during the game we saw ourselves on the big screen. That was a personal highlight for me, because everyone in the stadium saw us, and we felt like we were part of the Chelsea family,” recalled campaign winner Quade.
After the game, the guests from Mzansi were taken pictures with Man of the Match Eden Hazard, Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, and many other first team stars.
The day before the game, Quade, Joshua and Alanzo had been put through their paces by Chelsea coaches at the club’s training complex Cobham, an area usually not accessible to the average person.
As highlight, they met David Luiz, who took about 20 minutes out of his recovery training, to chat to the three SA talents, as well as the winner of the super fan draw Elias Moloi, whose home-town Luiz struggled to pronounce.
“At first I thought he would be a bit more distant. But he was very open with us, started making jokes. He was very, very friendly. He was just amazing. I’ll never forget the 20 minutes we had with him,” explained Quade.
“To meet David Luiz, someone you look up to and that is a role model, a positive inspiration to others out there, was a fantastic experience. I was really happy to see him,” added Alanzo.
The four South Africans also took part in a stadium tour as well as a guided tour through London, where they stopped at the biggest tourist attractions.
This once-in-a-lifetime trip was part of Shield South Africa’s Sbonis’ iDiski campaign.