Zimbabwe-born Brian Jamba has been named in Australia’s youth soccer squad.
The squad is now preparing for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Brian was eight when his family migrated to Australia and he was enrolled at a private school near Narooma, where he opted for soccer over cricket.
In the Southern Branch team the budding midfielder’s creative flair and excellent ball skills won him a spot in an elite NSW youth squad that visited Spain, where Brian and his teammates rubbed shoulders with some of the greats, including Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas.
“I have never looked back; I hope one day I will go back to play for one of the big teams,” he laughed.
Back home, Brian helped Southern Branch win the 2012 Football NSW Division One championship, scoring the winning goal in the grand final against Stanmore Hawks.
He earned a golden opportunity to break into the A-League when he trialled for Melbourne Heart under coach John Alois, but a deal didn’t materialise. He’s far from dispirited though, having earned a regular place in the Western Sydney Wanderers’ junior team.
Born in Bulawayo, the second biggest city of Zimbabwe, Brian didn’t play competitive sport at school, but was always up for a game of backyard cricket or soccer with his brothers. “We played all day during school holidays,” he told The Newsroom.
Watching the kids kick a homemade plastic ball in the backyard the family could never have imagined Brian, now 17, might one day play for the junior Socceroos.
He has a year to go at Westfield Sport High School where, with plenty of support from family living in Parramata, he has managed to balance sport and studies, getting good grades in class. After that, the Under-20 World Cup beckons, and dreams of a career as a professional footballer. He hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. – Collen Magobeya
Photos courtesy of Brian Jamba.