Brothers become rivals in battle to win dream professional contract
TALENTED amateur footballers Ibz and Naby Diallo have been shortlisted in a nationwide competition to win a professional playing contract with a Football League club.
Midfielders Ibz, 19, and Naby, 21, from Bristol, will ake part in the first-round trials of Samsung's Win A Pro Contract that could see them sign up for either Swindon Town or Leyton Orient.
More than 5,000 players from all over the country entered Win A Pro Contract – and the brothers are already through to the skills testing sessions.
Ibz said: "A couple of friends entered the competition and told me all about it. It looked like a fantastic opportunity, so I sent my application straight away.
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"I am a natural leader with good technical skills and a high work-rate. Hopefully, I can show the coaches what I'm capable of. It will be fun competing against my brother at the trial. I'm sure we will both make it through to the next stage."
Naby said: "It's great that we've both made the trials, but it will be weird competing against him.
"There are two contracts up for grabs this year and it would be amazing if we both got signed!"
Centre-back Jem Akeem, 20, also from Bristol, will also attend first round of trials.
Jem said: "I am good in the air and a tough tackler. The competition will be tough, but I'm hoping to stand out. I want to play football professionally and this is a great chance for me to do that. I think I'm capable of playing at a high level."
Last year's winner, Chris Smith, was a student before he signed for League One Swindon Town in February. Chris made his first-team debut against Bradford City in May.
He said: "When I entered Win A Pro Contract, I was just one of the thousands of players in the competition who dreamed of playing pro football. My dream came true.
"This year, for the first time, there are two clubs involved. So there are two pro contracts to be won. I wish every player the best of luck."
Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio said: "The Samsung Win a Pro Contract competition offers an amazing prize. But it will not be an easy journey for the players who have entered.
"They will have to work very hard to earn a chance here."
Orient manager Russell Slade added: "Becoming a professional footballer is a demanding process. This competition will be very tough in terms of fitness, as well as skill.
"The players who have made it through to the first-round trials will need to give it their all if they want to go on live the dream."
Win A Pro Contract hopefuls take part in a series of trials and full matches watched by club scouts and the two managers. The two winners will be chosen in January 2013.
Attacking midfielder Otis Francis, 18, and winger Matt Barnes, 20, both from Bristol, have also been selected for the trials.