The Sunday Mail
TEENAGE footballer Prosper Padera has attracted the interest of English Premier League side Brentford and will soon be invited for more trials with the club’s reserve team, The Sunday Mail Online has established.
The 17-year-old defensive midfielder was discovered in Marange by Mutare-based academy MAJESA.
He is now on a US$130 000 scholarship programme at Brooke House College in the United Kingdom, courtesy of Prime Time Academy, which was established in Harare two years ago by former Southampton striker Dexter Blackstock.
The academy has been hosting International Combines in the capital, where local and regional footballers are exposed to European scouts.
“We are excited with the news that Prosper has attracted interest from a number of European teams, including Brentford of England,” Blackstock said.
“He went for trials with Brentford’s B team. They really like him, so we expect them to invite him again.”
Padera was the best player at the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation tournament held in Bulawayo last year.
MAJESA won the tournament, while Padera also won Blackstock’s heart, with the former Queens Park Rangers’ star immediately signing up the player.
Blackstock has arranged another three-day International Combine in Harare, where scouts from six European clubs will attend.
The International Combine will start on December 11.
Scouts from Brentford, Braga, Werder Bremen, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Standard Liege and IFK Göteborg will run the rule on players aged between 13 and 18.
Some players will come from Botswana, Malawi and Zambia.
“This is the second Combine, following another very successful one early this year,” Blackstock said.
“Some players were offered contracts in Europe during the last Combine, and we believe more will get the same chance this time around.
“We are expecting 400 players, and there are limited slots now as a lot of players have expressed interest.”
Blackstock is a former English Premier League player, who also had stints with Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers.
He is now leveraging on his connections in Europe to unlock opportunities for Zimbabwean players.
He developed an interest in Zimbabwean talent after attending the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Foundation Under-17 tournament held at White City Stadium last year.