Future Champions coach Andile Zulu inspired by Orlando Pirates' Rulani Mokwena

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The aspiring professional coach has expressed delight after returning from a trip to Spain where he attended a number of LaLiga matches

Just after landing from Barcelona, young South African coach Andile Zulu has revealed that he wants to follow in the footsteps of Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena.

Zulu was part of a trip facilitated by LaLiga Santander, the Gauteng Provincial Department and Future Champions, where they attended a number of training sessions and matches in Europe.

“It was a wonderful trip going to Spain, to fly out of the country and to learn new things in football,” Zulu told Goal.

“It was my first time and I learned a lot. They have wonderful facilities in Spain and I like the fact that they develop players from an early age,” he added.

“Their development structures are well-run and they put emphasis on education before focusing on football,” said Zulu.

Among the youngsters sent to Spain was Nkanyiso Maphosa, Suhail Moosa, Zara Wilkinson and Khanyezi Maphosa, who joined Zulu on a trip of a lifetime.

In addition, the trip also marked the third year of LaLiga’s partnership with the prestigious Future Champions Gauteng Project.

The initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, a decade filled with inspiration, endless opportunities and the improvement of the beautiful game.

Respresenting the country and his peers, the White City Spurs coach added that young South Africans must have faith in their abilities and chase their dreams.

“It was an honour to go there and be seen as an example to my peers. I think we need to follow our dreams and have faith that they can come true when we work hard,” he continued.

“I am inspired by the likes of Rulani Mokwena from Pirates, Thabo Senong in the national team and Abraham Mangoya who is at Chippa United,” he revealed.

“They are my source of inspiration, I worked with them and I really believe I can also follow on their steps – it is possible to realise your dreams when you work hard,” said the budding coach.

“Rulani is someone who puts his work before everything else and he really works hard, I am inspired by his work ethic andunderstanding of the game,” explained Zulu.

Speaking about his dreams and ambitions going forward, the Future Coach revealed that he wants to put all the lessons he learned in Europe to good use and share with others.

As part of the trip, the youngsters attended the Barcelona clash with Atletico Bilbao as well as the Madrid Derby involving Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid among others.

“I want to play my role in developing the game in South Africa. I want to put the skills I learned there into practice and help in improving the lives of the young players," he continued.

“I want to achive big things in football and coach at the highest level. I believe it is possible because I work hard," explained the young coach.

“I would also like to urge Safa to invest more on South African coaches, especially the youth from the disadvantaged areas," he urged.

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“I also believe that the future is there and that is how to develop the game, not only the players, but the coaches as well. I want to also thank La Liga, Safa, Future Champs, the Gauteng governement and everyone who made this trip possible – it was an honour to go there and learn from the best clubs and coaches," acknowledged Zulu.

“I would also want to thank my family for their support, the guys who helped me and the club I am coaching. I really appreciate their support because I wouldn't be where I am today if they did not believe in me,” concluded Zulu.