7 Elite Academy East Africa youngster Shafii Omary Lumambo has made the first step towards a career in the professional game with a move to Tanzanian Premier League outfit Kagera Sugar.
The 16-year-old, who made his debut this year for 7EA's Under-17, Under-18 and Under-20 teams in Mabibo, will initially join Kagera Sugar for the winter season.
He is the first 7 Elite Academy East Africa player to join a high-profile Tanzanian club, after the organisation was first launched in Tanzania earlier this year.
Lumambo has played for 7EA for some time and was quickly fast-tracked to the 'Futures Phase' training curriculum.
Reggie Wilson, President of 7 Elite Academy East Africa, said: “I am so incredibly proud of what Shafii has achieved with us in such a short period of time.
“This is a great opportunity for him. He will get a taste of professional football with Kagera Sugar and after all the hard work he has put in at 7 Elite Academy, this move will further prepare him for a career in the sport he undoubtedly loves.
“It will also mean a great deal for his family, who are humble but proud of him. This move can help to transform all of their lives.”
The home-grown youngster will play for Kagera Sugar's Under-21 side, which is regarded as a hotbed of talent in Tanzania.
Wayne Scholes, Chief Executive of 7 Elite Academy, said: “This is fantastic news for Safii, who has the talent to make a huge impact in professional football.
“We want to tell the world that African footballers are some of the most talented and committed players in the game. Players like Safii are pioneers and it's just one of the reasons we are so committed to East Africa and in particular Tanzania.
“Our curriculum is based on offering youngsters great opportunities to train with our professional coaches, which in turn helps them to make the most of their talent. Not only in Tanzania, but with our coaching staff in the United States and United Kingdom.
“Saffi has had the benefit of working with our coaching team in Dar Es Salaam, let by Amri Kiemba and Thomas Morris two of the greatest names in Tanzanian football, whose experience and successful professional careers, have given Saffi a great head start.
“I am so happy for Saffi and his family. This is a wonderful testament to the professional curriculum of our Academy and our ability to develop, and promote talent that we find in out programmes around the world."
SWAHILI VERSION / SWAHILI VITI
Kijana wa Elite Academy East Africa kijana Shafii Omary Lumambo amepiga hatua ya kwanza kupata kazi katika mchezo wa kitaalam na kuhamia mavazi ya Ligi Kuu ya Tanzania Kagera Sugar.
Mchezaji huyo mwenye umri wa miaka 16, ambaye alitengeneza kwanza mwaka huu kwa timu za 7EA za chini ya miaka 17, Under-18 na Under-20 huko Mabibo, awali atajiunga na Kagera Sugar kwa msimu wa msimu wa baridi.
Ndiye mchezaji wa kwanza wa Elite Academy East Africa kujiunga na kilabu cha juu cha kitanzania, baada ya shirika hilo kuzinduliwa kwa mara ya kwanza nchini Tanzania mapema mwaka huu.
Lumambo aligunduliwa na makocha wa kitaalam wa 7EA na vipaji vya skauti, na alikuwa akifuatiliwa haraka kwa mtaala wa mafunzo wa 'Futures Phase'
Reggie Wilson, Rais wa 7 Elite Academy Mashariki mwa Afrika, alisema: "Ninajivunia sana kwa yale ambayo Shafii amepata nasi katika kipindi kifupi.
"Hii ni nafasi nzuri kwake. Atapata ladha ya mpira wa kikapu na Kagera Sugar na baada ya bidii yote aliyoweka katika Chuo cha Wasomi 7, harakati hii itamuandaa zaidi kwa kazi ya uwanjani bila shaka anapenda.
"Itamaanisha pia faida kubwa kwa familia yake, ambao ni wanyenyekevu lakini wanajivunia juu yake. Kuhama kunaweza kusaidia kubadilisha maisha yao yote. "
Kijana aliyekua nyumbani atacheza kwa upande wa Kagera Sugar wa chini ya miaka 21, ambayo inachukuliwa kama hoteli ya talanta nchini Tanzania.
Wayne Scholes, Mtendaji Mkuu wa Wasomi 7 Wasomi, alisema: "Hii ni habari nzuri kwa Safii, ambaye ana talanta ya kufanya makubwa katika mpira wa kikapu.
"Tunataka kuambia ulimwengu kuwa wachezaji wa mpira wa Kiafrika ni wachezaji wengine wenye talanta na waliojitolea katika mchezo huo. Wacheza kama Safii ni waanzilishi na ni moja wapo ya sababu tumejitolea sana kwa Afrika Mashariki na haswa Tanzania.
"Mtaala wetu ni msingi wa kuwapa vijana fursa nzuri za kufundisha na makocha wetu wa kitaalam, ambayo kwa upande huwasaidia kupata vipaji vyao zaidi. Sio tu Tanzania, bali na wafanyikazi wetu wa kufundisha huko Merika na Uingereza.
"Saffi imekuwa na faida ya kufanya kazi na timu yetu ya ufundi Dar es salaam, iliyotolewa na Amri Kiemba na Thomas Morris majina mawili makubwa katika mpira wa miguu wa Tanzania, ambao uzoefu wao na taaluma nzuri ya kufaulu, imeipa Saffi mwanzo mkubwa.
"Nimefurahiya sana Saffi na familia yake. Huu ni ushahidi mzuri kwa mtaala wa kitaalam wa Chuo chetu na uwezo wetu wa kukuza, na kukuza vipaji ambavyo tunapata katika programu za nje ulimwenguni. "