'The Chance' /PHOTO: NIKE

The dreams of 16 youngsters came true yesterday. Nike announced the 16 finalists for The Chance on Saturday at 19.00 at Hotel W de Barcelona. The selected players will join the Nike Academy and are guaranteed to be part of the company’s world tour, which is scheduled to run from January 15 through February 15.

The selection process is far from over, seeing that there can only be one winner. The tour will have four stops: Portland, Los Angeles, Italy and England. Four players will be eliminated from the troupe of finalists in each city/country until only one contestant remains.

More than 150 million players

11 of the 16 finalists are European, and it’s also worth noting that there are two Spaniards that made last night’s cut. The Spaniards are Gonzalo Balbi and Saifeddine Alami Bazzi, who is a midfielder for Lleida.

The 16 players beat out more than 150 million children in more than 55 countries. This past week in Barcelona, the top 100 players - of which 16 were selected for the world tour - gathered in the Catalan capital for the final phase of Nike’s The Chance.

The 16 finalists

Ismail H’Maidat (Belgium) Midfielder
Dario Van Den Buijs (Belgium) Midfielder
Wallace Camilo (Brazil) Defender
David Fernandes (France) Forward
Dimitris Komnos (Greece) Defender
Marco Di Lauro (Italy) Defender
Ryosuke Kinoshita (Japan) Forward
Kirill Laptev (Russia) Midfielder
Petar Golubovic (Serbia) Defender
Teboho Charlie Tsotetsi (South Africa) Midfielder
Melusi Zulu (South Africa) Midfielder
Saifeddine Alami Bazza (Spain) Midfielder
Gonzalo Balbi (Spain) Defender
Bubakary Sonko (Sweden) Forward
Jose Figura (UK) Midfielder
Brian Iloski (UAE) Forward

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