IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Footballers could be Beijing-bound

After playing against visiting Chinese team, youth football club considers trip to the Far East

01 August, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Kentish Town Football Academy and Beijing New Talent Academy

A TEAM of talented young footballers from Camden and Islington could soon be preparing for a mighty away day.

That’s because staff from Pro Touch SA are drawing up plans to take a team on tour to China to “experience a different culture, a different way of living and a different way of playing the beautiful game”.

The news comes after Pro Touch successfully hosted Beijing New Talent Academy, who recently enjoyed an action-packed 10 days in London. They played a host of friendlies against local sides, including Pro Touch, Just Play, who are based in Highgate, and Kentish Town Football Academy. They also enjoyed a spot of sightseeing, visiting Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, and were even treated to some traditional fish and chips at Poppie’s in Camden Town.

“It was a fantastic experience for everyone involved,” said Pro Touch project manager Mustapha Turay, who helped organised Beijing Academy’s visit.

“Our players got the chance to learn all about a different culture, and share their own stories about their backgrounds and where they live and grew up. A lot of new friendships were formed.

“Beijing Academy played some excellent football, and one of their age groups even won a special tournament that we put together.

“It would be fantastic to take a squad to China. Pro Touch have played football all over Europe, to go to the Far East would be a whole new challenge. It would present our players with a great opportunity.

“We are exploring our options. Competing in the Gothia Cup in China, for example, would take a lot of planning. We would need to fundraise because obviously it wouldn’t be cheap.

“Instead of taking a squad from Pro Touch, we could pick a team to represent Camden and Islington. How exciting would that be? There is also talk of Beijing Academy returning to play in the UK, so watch this space.”

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