Malawian teenage winger Jaydon Makhalira has signed a year-long contract with the Under-14 section of English Premiership club Sheffield United.
The 13-year-old impressed the English side after a successful four-week trial, according to his father Aubrey Makhalira.
“It feels great to see my son signing his first football contract after his impressive performance during trials,” said the father in a WhatsApp interview yesterday.
He said the grade nine pupil at Huddersfield Grammar School in the United Kingdom (UK), started playing football at the age of four at Soccer Akidemy, which is run by former footballers Andy Welsh and Danny Cadamarteri.
Makhalira said the boy continued to play for his Bradford grass roots team and Academy Forza under his coach Bertan Devlish until the age of 11 when he was scouted by Leeds United.
“At Leeds, he went through the ranks of development centre, shadow squad and then offered an eight-week trial. Unfortunately, he was not signed in the end,” he said.
“He then went to Sheffield where he was previously scouted before Leeds and later to ET [emerging talent] for five weeks and offered a trial in the Academy for four weeks before being offered the contract. As parents, we are proud of his achievement so far.”
Makhalira said the winger, who comfortably plays both on the right and left flanks and uses both legs, can also play as a striker and is an agile athlete.
“There is still more work to be done to ensure that his dream of becoming a professional footballer materialises. It is also his dream and wish that in future, he can one day contribute to the success of the Malawi national team,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said the local football governing body is happy to see more youths making it big in diaspora and they will be monitoring Jaydon’s performance.