COSAFA Cup unearths another gem as Mauritian star heads to USA

The COSAFA Cup has helped to unearth another gem with Mauritius forward Ashley Nazira set to continue his career in the United States with San Diego Loyal SC.

Nazira was one of the stars of the 2019 COSAFA Cup in Durban, netting three goals, and his exploits at the tournament saw a number of clubs sit up and take notice.

He will join newly-formed San Diego Loyal, who will debut in the 2020 USL Championship, essentially the second-tier in the United States.

The club is owned by renowned former USA international Landon Donovan, who turned out for the likes of Bayern Munich and Everton in Europe.

Nazira netted twice in a 2-2 draw with Eswatini at the COSAFA Cup, and was then on the scoresheet again as Mauritius lost 2-1 to Comoros.

His three goals saw him share the top-scorer award with the Malawi duo of Gabadinho Mhango and Gerald Phiri Jnr, who both ply their trade in the South African Premier Soccer League.

The 24-year-old Narira was previously on the books of French lower league side Saint-Pauloise FC.

Mauritius have never had a player in the American top-flight, and Nazira will hope his exploits can earn him a move to the elite division.

Donovan will also be coach of the team and has hired Carrie Taylor as an assistant – an unusual move even in the United States to have a female as part of a senior men’s side’s technical team.

The new USL Championship season is likely to start in March.