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SA Talent Scores Equaliser As Africa XI Hold Chelsea Legends

One of the South African talents was on the scoresheet as Shield’s Africa XI held a team of Chelsea legends, including 2011/12 UEFA Champions League winner Michael Essien, to a 1-1 draw.

Click through the gallery to see images of the game.

The game took place at Cobham, Chelsea’s state-of-the-art training facility, and it was an evenly-matched contest.

The African XI slightly dominated possession and had a plus on chances in the first half but it ended scoreless. However, Chelsea’s legends, which also included 1996 Olympics winner Celestine Babayaro and former Blues captain Dennis Wise, scored the opener shortly after the break.

But the boys from the Africa XI did not give up and found the equaliser with 15 minutes to play after Kyle Meth’s header hit the crossbar and Marco De Bruin scored on the rebound.

The Africa XI had the better chances towards the end of the game, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw, which left Blues legend Essien pretty satisfied.

“I want to say thanks to everyone, thanks to the boys. They made us work hard and it’s been a pleasure playing against you,” he explained.

“It’s been a long journey, I met Alex and Shadrack in Ghana. To see them here is great and congratulations to Alex for winning the Man of the Match.

“I wish you all very well and hope you guys can make a future with your career.”

The Chelsea legends were coached by Eddie Newton, who played for the Blues in the 1990s. Newton is no newbie on the sidelines as he was the assistant coach of Roberto Di Matteo when Chelsea famously lifted the UEFA Champions League in 2011/12, and he was happy for his team to get a draw against the talents from Africa.

“The game, I thought was very even matched and well contested. We can see the levels that you have attained. Luckily we came up with a draw, we are very happy with that,” the Chelsea coach explained.

Dennis Wise made over 330 appearances for the Blues in the 1990s and lifted six trophies during his active days at Stamford Bridge, and he too thanked the African XI for a tough game.

“I really enjoyed being in the middle, I enjoyed being able to play against some of you guys. Overall I thought it was a good, competitive game guys,” Wise said.

“We all enjoyed it and it’s good for the relationships. We bonded together and I think Chelsea are looking forward to carrying it on for a long, long time. Thank you all very much for coming.”

The game was organized as part of the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski campaign, which saw seven talents from South Africa, two from Ghana, one from Zimbabwe and one from Zambia travel to London this week.

The line-up for the Africa XI looked as follows: Mulenga Mulenga (Zambia), Kyle Meth, Kgotso Mogagabe, Ryan Adams, Joshua Roman (all South Africa), Shadrack Adombila (Ghana), Joseph Mandevani (Zimbabwe), Daddyboy Zwane (South Africa), Alex Agyakwa (Ghana) and Marco De Bruin (South Africa). Due to the injury of Thulo Thibatsi (South Africa) one of the Chelsea coaches helped out in the team made up of some of Africa’s finest amateur players, who are now hoping to be approached by ABSA Premiership clubs.

You can read more about the Africa XI and the Shield campaign in next week's Soccer Laduma, issue 1091. 

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