The Edition


Junior football star Ethan secures training opportunity in Spain's TNGS

Shahudha Mohamed
20 September 2020, MVT 09:27
Talented football player of the national team's under-12 elite pool, Ethan Ibrahim Zaki. PHOTO: FACEBOOK
Shahudha Mohamed
20 September 2020, MVT 09:27

Talented football player of the national team's under-12 elite pool, Ethan Ibrahim Zaki secured the opportunity to train in Spain, after scoring a top position in a virtual camp hosted by Spain's The Next Generation Sports (TNGS).

Ethan, aged 11, rose to the top of his batch after out-competing several players that took part in the virtual camp.

Maldives' most-renowned football player Ali Ashfaq (Dhangandey), goalkeeper Imran Mohamed, national team captain Akram Abdul Ghani (Aku), national team coach Martin Koopman and assistant coach Rene Hiddink congratulated Ethan on his success.

The opportunity to join the camp was facilitated through an agreement signed between the Maldives Olympic Committee and TNGS around six years ago.

Hosted under the leadership of the national team's former assistant coach Ahmed Shakir, the three-week-long virtual camp consisted of three components, including next-generation skill sessions, technical talk and team projects.

In addition to Ethan, Mohamed Iyaan Hassan and Aiham Hamdhoon from the under-16 national team also participated in the event, along with Aishath Siuna and Mariyam Wishaaya Wildhaan of the under-19 national team.

Shakir told local media Mihaaru that all the participants gained important knowledge from the training camp, while Ethan scored a "great opportunity".

According to Olympic Committee's Secretay General Ahmed Marzooq, Ethan will depart to Spain for his training during March, April or May of 2021.

Despite his young age, Ethan's skills are highly-praised amongst the Maldivian football community. The youngster's coaches describe him as a versatile player with "a lot of potential".

"If he continues as he currently is with the right discipline, he will play [foot]ball at the top level in Maldives by the time he is 16 or 17. He has that kind of skill. [He is] a very talented and unique player", Ethan's coach and former star defender Sobah Mohamed said.

Ethan shone in the Kids Football Fiesta held on the occasion of 2019's Tourism Day, securing a spot for a training programme in the academy run by former Spain footballer Michel Salgado in Dubai.

Later the same year, the young player, on the runner-up team, displayed his talent at the Thailand International Youth Cup. In February 2020, he also played against popular teams across the globe at the Intercontinental tournament held in Dubai.

Many viewers, including former players and coaches, complimented Ethan's gameplay in Football Associaton of Maldives (FAM)'s Youth League matches.