Know your Warriors: Vernon Masara: one for the future

19 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Know your Warriors: Vernon Masara: one for the future Vernon Masara

The Sunday News

Sports Reporter

MORE than a week ago, a Zimbabwean teenager grabbed football headlines following a historic feat.

The name the local football fraternity should immediately take note of is Vernon Masara.

The 17-year-old was recently named Burnley’s Academy Player of the Year for the 2023/24 season.

Born to Zimbabwean parents, Masara is eligible to play for the Warriors in future.

According to reports from Burnely in the United Kingdom, Masara, who turned 17 last month, has spent much of the season playing with the Under-20s squad and has impressed with his eye-catching performances.

The first-year scholar has shown flexibility by playing through the middle and off both flanks and has scored 21 goals in all competitions.

Having been with the Clarets since the age of nine, Masara penned a two-year scholarship deal ahead of the 2023/24 season. He started the campaign with some injuries but, with the help of the academy’s medical and sports science teams, he adapted to the demands of full-time training.

With the guidance of Under-18s manager Tony Philliskirk and Under-20s boss Andy Farrell, Masara improved on and off the pitch and was afforded more opportunities.

That included 26 appearances for the U-20s as a 16-year-old, highlighting the possibility of progression within the age group set-up.

March was a particularly fruitful month for the teenager, who scored six goals in four games including a second-half hat-trick away at Crewe Alexandra.

The forward also marked his Turf Moor debut with a goal, showcasing his pace to score a late goal in their 3-1 victory over AFC Bournemouth.

Masara was presented his award by chairman Alan Pace at half-time of the men’s team’s Premier League match with Newcastle over a week ago.

At 17, Masara is definitely one to watch out for.

Meanwhile, during the week, Zifa announced a change of times to Zimbabwe’s World Cup Qualifiers kick-off times next month.

The Warriors are forced to play their home games away from home as there is no  stadium deemed fit for international matches in the country.

They play Lesotho at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on 7 June.

Kick-off time was initially set at 6pm CAT, but the game will now start at 3pm CAT.

The Warriors will then play South Africa at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on 11 June in a match that will now start at 6pm CAT.

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