A FORMER St Laurence School pupil is now helping to develop the talent of young footballers in Malawi in the African nation’s premier soccer academy.

George Maguire grew up in Bradford on Avon, attending the town’s Christchurch Primary School and then St Laurence School.

A talented footballer, he was a member of the Bristol City FC and Southampton FC youth academies, and played for Melksham and Chippenham U18s, before going to Southampton University to study sports with business.

In 2008, George moved to Malawi to manage a football and netball competition, which was at the time the largest primary schools sports tournament in the history of Malawi.

Seeing the undeveloped soccer talent on display, he co-founded Chigoli – whose name means goal in the local dialect - with Alex Scott, a former Newcastle Utd FC academy player.

Based at the International School in Lilongwe, Malawi, the Chigoli Academy has plans to build its own premises by 2021.

It offers gifted children in south east Africa a pathway out of poverty and equips them not only to play football at the highest levels, but also a chance to gain an education and develop their character.

Mr Maguire said: “Fast forward ten years and we are in our fourth year of developing the premier football academy in Malawi to offer gifted children in one of the poorest countries in the world pathways into opportunity.

“We are the only academy to scout nationally and are very holistic in our development. We have the best youth teams in the country and will produce role models who go onto do big things in life and football.”

“The power of football to elevate people into powerful positions to drive social change and improve the lives of people in their home African countries is massive as George Weah becoming Liberia’s president proves.”

Chigoli was recognised by the global broadcaster CNN in October 2017 when they flew a film crew to Malawi to make a 30-minute documentary on the academy, creating global exposure for its vision and mission.