FORMER Hamilton Accies and Hearts star Jose Quitongo paid a visit to Braidhurst High School this week - to thank them for their work in helping his sons potentially follow in his footballing footsteps.
Jose’s son Rico recently captained Braidhurst under-13s side to victory in the final of the Scottish Shield, emulating the success of elder brother Jai who was part of the Shield winning side two years ago.
The former winger paid tribute to staff at the school, particularly football coach Steven Hamilton, for their help in developing Rico and Jai, both in terms of football and general education.
Jose left home in Angola aged 10 to join the Benfica Football Academy and thereafter played professional football in several countries including Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and Scotland.
He said: “During my time in the famous Benfica Football Academy I learned the discipline of eating, sleeping and timekeeping necessary to make a professional player. In addition the skill development was fantastic.
“It is just great for me to see Rico and Jai receive such a great education with the same discipline whilst attending Braidhurst without having to leave home as I had to all those years ago.
“As a former player I feel that the coaching they are receiving from Steven Hamilton has really developed their skills. I am really proud to see them both do so well at such a great school.”
Jai, now in third year, has been involved in the Braidhurst SFA School of Football throughout his time at the school and said: “I have loved every minute of my time at Braidhurst High and it is fantastic to get football every day.”
And Rico, who joined the school last August and is just completing his first year at the School of Football, added: “I am so glad that I qualified for the School of Football based in Braidhurst. To captain the first year team to win the Scottish made me very proud.”
Rector Derrick Hannan said: “Both boys certainly have their father’s football skills in their make up and it is obviously being developed through the School of Football initiative.
“It is great to see both of them doing so well. Perhaps in the future we will see them follow in his footsteps, but hopefully they will play for Scotland instead of Angola.”
The Braidhurst under-13 side have a chance of adding to their silverware collection after reaching the final of the Thomson Trophy - see match report in June 6 edition of Times & Speaker.