Harare (New Ziana) -In a move set to improve local soccer standards, Legends Football Academy has partnered English Premier League (EPL) side Everton FC, becoming the second club in Africa to partner the top British team.
The deal announced, on Everton’s official website, allows Legends Football Academy to have access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton Academy as well as support with player development and growth, a development that sets it apart from more traditional models.
Everton International Technical Lead Paddy Byrne is set to visit Zimbabwe to assist in sharing the Everton Academy curriculum and implement methods used at Finch Farm to develop both player and coaching skills.
In a statement, Everton FC announced that the Harare-based soccer academy becomes the newest addition to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Program (EIAAP), which aims to expand the knowledge and expertise of Everton’s player development processes to affiliated clubs at all tiers of the game across the world.
“As a partner, Legends Football Academy will also have full access to the Everton Academy curriculum and monthly support from a dedicated Everton Academy coach, along with the offer of technical support from Everton’s Finch Farm training complex and business and marketing support from its Royal Liver Building business headquarters,” said Everton FC.
The two clubs will also collaborate on coach development and education.
Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe was established in 2015 with the goal of developing gifted young footballers.
The academy has opened its doors to players from diverse backgrounds and has been successful in producing professional footballers for local and regional leagues.
Due to these successes, Everton FC noted that the Academy has sought partners in achieving its next goal of developing players capable of playing professional football in international and European leagues.
Farai Dhliwayo, founder of the Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Everton, one of the most distinguished and storied clubs in English football.
“This is a partnership that serves as a natural progression to the programs we have been running, where we have a goal to transition into a more professional academy, developing players capable of playing in top leagues.
“Everton has a proven track record of developing world class talents, so to benefit from their vast knowledge and resources presents us with a wonderful opportunity.”
Dhliwayo, whose passion and enthusiasm for developing players aligns perfectly with the Club’s values, added: “Everton also has a strong history of being a family club with strong ties to its community, and here at the Legends Football Academy we welcome young players, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the community we serve.”
Byrne added: “We are delighted to welcome Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe as a partner club to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate program.
“I’m excited to work alongside Farai and his team, and by sharing our values and coaching methods we can build on the strong foundations of our affiliate programme and strengthen Everton’s bond in Africa.
“I am sure this will prove a fruitful partnership for both clubs, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Club program, which is available to grassroots teams, professional sides, youth academies, girls’ and women’s teams, as well as colleges and universities, was launched in 2020.
Legends Football Academy Zimbabwe becomes the second affiliate club in Africa, following a partnership announced earlier last year with Ghana’s Ridge City Women, the first women’s club to join the program.
The EIAAP program also has affiliates in the US, Canada, Africa, South America, Australia and Ireland.