By Mabvuto Kambuwe
Malawian starlet Lughano Nyondo formerly of Lilongwe based Ascent Soccer Academy has secured a $65 000 (about K48 million) four-year scholarship at Brooks School in Boston after a successful first year in the United States of America.
Through Ascent’s links, Nyondo moved to USA in August 2019 at the age of 14 and attended Indian Mountain School where she finished top scorer for the school.
In her debut season in USA, she was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and while at Indian Mountain School her performances caught the eye of Brooks School.
Nyondo completed her school year online, won Grade 8 athlete of the year and spent several months training in small groups at OL Reign Academy, the academy which one of the best women’s football clubs in the US where World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe plays.
Ascent Soccer Executive Director of Soccer and Programs, George Maguire yesterday was excited with Nyondo’s exploits in USA.
“Brooks represents a fantastic option for Lughano, both academically to excel and set herself up for a world-class university opportunity and also to keep nurturing her soccer skills through a strong school soccer program and elite youth female club league across the East Coast of the USA,” he said in a statement that was released.
“Ascent Soccer believes she has the potential to emerge, in the coming years, as the best female player from Malawi after Tabitha and Temwa Chawinga whilst being a role-model and fine ambassador for Malawi and the female game in Malawi.”
Lughano joined Ascent Soccer in 2018 as a 12-year-old as part of their annual nationwide scouting program.
Ascent Soccer Operations Director Thom Mkolongo said Nyondo will be the next big thing in Malawi football.
“She is one of the best players in Malawi and I believe she will reach greater heights,” he said.
Ascent Soccer Academy identifies and nurtures talent at grassroots level and also offers a platform where promising youngsters are exported overseas.
The academy has assessed 25,000 youth players from across Malawi since 2015 to create a residential academy of 70 players, both male and female that they invest into holistically through advanced soccer coaching, character development and education.
Since 2015 Ascent Soccer has produced nine youth internationals for Malawi and two Malawian athlete-scholars at elite private boarding schools in the country.
Founded in 2014, Ascent now has over 100 full-time boys and girls from Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and the Democratic of Congo.