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Tyroane Sandows - Player Profile

South Africa’s Unknown Samba Boy

Personal information
Full name: Tyroane Sandows
Date of birth: 12 February 1996
Age: 19
Place of birth: Westbury, Johannesburg
Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 5 in)
Playing position: Forward/Winger

Club information
Current team: Gremio
Number: 11

Youth career 
2007–2014 Sao Paulo
2014–2015 Gremio
National team
2015: South Africa U20 1 Appearance, 3 goals

This week we profile a rising star that is relatively unknown to the South African football community. Tyroane Sandows is 19 years old and is from Westbury in Johannesburg. From the age of 11 years-old he played for Sao Paulo’s famed academy that has produced the likes of Kaka, Oscar and Lucas Moura.

He is currently playing for Gremio, another top Brazilian club where Ronaldinho was nurtured and made his name. He is seen as an upcoming star in Brazil, so much so that he is in the process of changing his nationality to make himself eligible to play for the Brazil national team.
Tyroane first arrived in Brazil in July 2006 with Shona Khona, a programme which takes a dozen young footballers each year from South Africa to visit the Sao Paulo academy. A quick and nimble wide forward, who was a big fan of Arsenal and Thierry Henry when he was growing up in South Africa, made such an impression that Sao Paulo, then the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions, that they invited him back the following year to stay for 12 months. Eight years later and he is still in Brazil and on the brink of first team football.

Tyroane signed a three year deal for Gremio last September after interest was shown in him from various clubs offering him first team football in the near future. He attended a short trial at PSV in the Netherlands, but opted to return to Brazil, where Gremio showed the most desire to sign him.
Initially, Ty, as he is affectionately known, lived with a Brazilian family who spoke English and went to an international school and trained three times a week in the evening with Sao Paulo until his Portuguese was fluent and then he went to live on the Academy campus at the age of 14.
Ty was called up by South Africa for the first time earlier this month to represent the U-20’s at the African Championships. Unfortunately, he was not involved in Amajita’s qualifying games to reach the tournament so he was a relatively unknown entity and the coach did not start him in their two crucial opening games where South Africa lost and were subsequently already out of the tournament. However, Sandows was given a chance in Amajita’s final group match against Zambia. Ty bagged a hat-trick as South Africa thrashed Zambia 5-2 on Sunday evening. Not a bad debut.
British publication, the Daily Mail, spoke to the forward in Brazil, and when asked about leaving South Africa for Brazil, Sandows said, “It was a big decision. For your dreams you have to sacrifice something in your teenage years. It is not easy to have your son leave for a foreign country but my family have been supportive. Brazilian football suits my style. They like to play with flair. It’s similar to South African football. They play a lot of futsal until the age of 12 or 13 and that’s where they learn a lot of their dribbling skills, keeping the ball in tight spaces,” Ty Said. “At the Academy, there were about 100 athletes at the campus, aged from 14 to 19. Lucas Moura was three years above me, and Oscar was there for a year, Lucas Piazon (Chelsea) was a year older than me and we became goods friend. I’m still in touch with him. To sign professional was a big step. I didn’t really think about it at the time but now I look back and it was a big step that a lot of boys want to take and can’t take. I feel really privileged to take that step.

As South African’s we can only hope that Safa give Ty a chance at senior level in an effort for the youngster to opt for his country of birth rather than Brazil.