7 Elite Academy East Africa is continuing to develop a track record for community involvement and athletic success, just a year after the organization started working with young people in Tanzania.
The global youth soccer academy, which also runs teams for hundreds of players in the United Kingdom and United States, has become a key member of the community in Dar es Salaam.
That work has included weekly training sessions with players and professional coaching staff from across the world, while also providing families with essentials after food supplies were disrupted during Covid-19 restrictions.
7EA East Africa player Shafii Omary Lumambo signed a professional contract with Kagera Sugar’s Under-21 side, while Aston Villa striker Mbwana Samatta has been recruited as an official ambassador.
Reggie Wilson, President of 7 Elite Academy East Africa, said: “I knew the young people in Tanzania had amazing potential, but they have exceeded those expectations in so many wonderful ways.
“Our training programme is proven across the world, but it is all about the players and they have shown great character. Because of that, we have created opportunities based on their development as players and great young people.
“We want youth players who will buy into our coaching plans and social programmes. There are so many opportunities that will bring benefits not only for themselves but also their families and communities.”
One of the key benefits of 7 Elite Academy in Tanzania has been the presence of full-time staff Amri Kiemba and Thomas Morris, both of whom enjoyed lengthy careers in professional football.
“The biggest highlight for me has been working with Thomas and Amri,” Reggie explained.
“Their example and dedication shows through in their work and I can’t imagine we would be nearly as successful doing this without them.
“The leadership they provide in Tanzania is the key. They have worked every day since we launched and have been on the ground actively improving their communities, all the while wearing the 7 Elite Academy badge.”
A year is a long time in football, of course and Reggie is proud of the achievements made so far: “From a sporting standpoint we’ve been able to develop a winning mentality in a short amount of time and that’s been great to see.
“We have some of the top youth players in Dar es Salaam and we were invited to play in the Dallas Cup 2020, as well as several other tournaments in the USA and Europe.
“I am so proud of the fact that Shafii Omary Lumambo signed a professional contract, while meeting Mbwana Samatta and having him come on board as an official ambassador was a great honour.”
7 Elite Academy’s involvement in Tanzania is set to continue – and accelerate - over coming months and years, as the organization continues to build a lasting legacy for the community in Tanzania.
Reggie added: “There is a soccer revolution happening in East Africa and we are determined to be at the forefront of that. We have plans to build a large sports complex just outside of Dar es Salaam.
“That complex will be our home base and we want future stars of the game to be produced from there. We will see players from 7 Elite Academy playing in the World Cup and the world’s best leagues.
“But it’s not just about football. We want to use our status as a worldwide organization to work across Tanzania and improve life opportunities for players and their wider communities.
“Our players love the worldwide kinship that comes with being part of 7 Elite Academy. That means a lot to us and it’s bigger than soccer. It’s family.”