THE 2013 Future Champions Gauteng will draw in teams from across the globe for the prestigious
Under-17 international tournament that this year will includes English giants Everton and a return for Qatar’s Aspire Academy.
Everton’s famed academy has produced many top talents over the years, most recently England international Wayne Rooney, Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell and Everton’s England star Leon Osman.
The club is one of the oldest and most successful in English football, with only Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal having won more than Everton’s nine league titles. The club is currently managed by David Moyes, who has never been afraid to put youngsters into his side, and has former Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar on their books.
The academy is one of the most successful in England and has become a blueprint for other clubs on how to develop talent.
“The players were excited when we told them that we would be competing in the Future Champions Gauteng tournament. None of them have been to South Africa before, so they are looking forward to a new and unique experience.
The older players have told them what a great time they had at the Future Champions tournament two years ago in Brazil and we are all hoping the experience will be as positive in South Africa,” Everton academy coach Neil Dewsnip says.
The Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence was started by HH Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and is one of the most modern facilities in the world, with state-of-the-art infrastructure to help nurture the country’s sports stars of tomorrow.
The Academy aims to drive an active sporting and healthy lifestyle for the people in Qatar and is recognised for its world-class facilities. They have an excellent football programme and will get the chance to show their progress at the 2013 Future Champions Gauteng.
The team played in last year’s Future Champions Gauteng and finished a credible seventh in the competition.
“Aspire competed in the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Tournament and it was a fantastic experience for both the players and staff. We were delighted to be invited back in 2013 and are very much looking forward to visiting Gauteng again.
The organisation both on and off the field was first class and as we normally take our teams to Europe for tournaments, for us to be able to participate in such a prestigious tournament in South Africa is a great opportunity,” Aspire Academy football program head coach Michael
The Future Champions Gauteng tournament will begin with a group stage, with each of the 12 participating teams divided into four groups of three. Each team will play every other within the group, plus one crossover game with a team from another group.
There were 84 goals scored in 30 matches at the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng, with Marcos Labandeira from Uruguay’s Nacional and Siyanda Ngcobo from Orlando Pirates FC the top scorers with six goals each.
Atletico Mineiro from Brazil finished as winners for the second year running, followed by Nacional and Zambia’s K-Stars.
The field of 12 teams for this year’s event will consist of eight international sides and four teams from South Africa, who will come out of the 2013 Future Champions Gauteng Cup that will be played on the weekend of 9th and 10th March 2013.