Budding footballers get shot at stardom

These players will have the chance to impress selectors at Nike's "The Chance" (photo courtesy of IMSG)These players will have the chance to impress selectors at Nike's "The Chance" (photo courtesy of IMSG)

Five budding footballers were handed a potential ticket to stardom on Friday, as part of "The Chance", a global talent search initiative organised by Nike to unearth the best young amateur players from the world over.

From now until June, players aged between 16 and 24 years old will be battling to impress selectors for the coveted shot at being the next Lionel Messi.

After a football boot camp - headed by former Singapore international and LionsXII head coach V. Sundramoorthy no less - in May, the top five players will represent the country in a regional final in Indonesia in June.

There, they will vie with players from the host country, Thailand and Malaysia for a dream ticket to Barcelona in August for the global finals. These lucky footballers will also get to strut their stuff at the Spanish giants' youth academy.

And fret not even if the local players don't make it into Pep Guardiola's team - they can still earn a spot in Sundram's LionsXII squad which is currently competing in the Malaysian Super League.

During yesterday's selection held at Meridian Junior College where the five players- Mohammed Naufal nur Hakim, 19, Mohd Amsyar, 18, Syabil Anwar 16, Muhammad Hairi, 19 and Mohd Khairul, 23 - were picked, Sundram said: "The door is always open for the players to join LionsXII if they show they are good enough. If they are good enough why deprive them of an opportunity, [why not] give them a chance to join us?"