South African top-flight league outfit Orlando Pirates has invited Under-20 national football team blossoming forward Peter Banda for trials.
A letter from Amabkhaka-bhaka (Pirates) dated April 13, signed by its administrator Tokoloho Moeketsi and addressed to the youngster’s club Griffin Young Stars which The Nation has seen, said the trials are supposed to be in form of a junior tournament to be held in Brazil between April 29 and May 11.
Part of the letter reads: “Kindly refer to this letter as official invitation for the aforementioned player to join us as a guest [player] on a [Project X Brazil Tour]. Orlando Pirates FC will take care of all [the] logistics] during the duration.”
Broker of the trials, Felix Ngamanya Sapao, said apart from the Brazil trip, Pirates’ administrative chief whip Floyd Mbele is also expected to travel to Swaziland this weekend to watch Banda in Saturday’s Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Under-20 preliminary round second leg.
However, Sapao says everything awaits the determination of Griffin Young Stars owner Griffin Saenda Jnr who is also the player’s uncle.
“Griffin Jnr is only expected to arrive in the country later today [yesterday] from Australia where he accompanied the national netball team. So, I expect to meet him tomorrow [today],” he said.
Sapao also said they want the player to proceed to South Africa from Swaziland to have his Brazil visa processed.
He also said should he make the grade, Banda can only join Pirates next season as he is still a minor until September 22 when he will turn 18.
“So, assessing at the Brazil tournament would be ideal as he will play with his age-mates and, as such, it would make it easier for him to excel than training with the senior team during pre-season in July.
“There are no short-cuts in player development and for a quality player like him, he would become a top-class player under the Pirates technical panel,” he said.
Sapao said Pirates have since committed to cater for other logistics such as insurance in case of other eventualities like injury.
He said: “And should his uncle accept, then as a guardian, he will need to provide a letter permitting his travel considering his age.”
On his part, Saenda yesterday said he will decide after meeting Sapao.
However, during pre-season he turned down advances on the player from local big guns—Silver Strikers, Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers—on the basis that Banda needed to concentrate on his studies since he is supposed to sit for Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations in June.
Banda was named sportsman of the year during the inaugural National Sports Awards organised by the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS). He was also named the best player of the 2017 FMB Under 20 Football League and also clicnhed Golden Boot accolade during the 2016 Under-17 Cosafa Youth Championship in Mauritius. He earns call ups in the senior national team.