By FOCUS REPORTER
The ten teams that will take part in the U17 Gauteng Cup tournament to be held at Marks Park in Emmarentia on the weekend of January 29/30 have been announced.
The prestigious junior tournament for teams in the Under-17 age-group will provide South Africa’s four entries to the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions competition that will be held from March 28 to April 2.
The teams to compete in the Gauteng Cup are Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns, Tuks University, Bidvest Wits, Jomo Cosmos, SuperSport United, FC AK and the SAFA/Transnet School of Excellence.
The sides will be drawn into two groups of five and will play each other on a knock-out basis, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions where they will take on some of the world’s top Under-17 sides.
Sundowns will be out for goals as they recently represented South Africa with distinction in the Belo Horizonte Future Champions tournament that was held in Brazil in December.
Sundowns finished fifth at that competition, ahead of the likes of Spanish giants Barcelona, and won rave reviews for their performances.
The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Lebogang Maile said: “We remain focused on our drive to enhance our competitive edge. These teams represent the future today and we wish them all the best. We are also calling on our communities to get out in their numbers and show support for our youth”
The Gauteng Cup is in its third year, with Moroka Swallows having won the inaugural event, and SuperSport United claiming the title last year.
But aside from the Gauteng Cup and Future Champions tournaments, there is also a Soccer Identification talent search that begins on February 5, 2011, where youngsters go head-to-head in a competition to find the most promising rising talents in the Gauteng province.
The 2009 Gauteng Soccer Identification programme saw Soweto’s Refiloe Jane, the overall winner, as well as runners-up, Tshwane’s Frans Kagiso Kekana and Daveyton’s Sibusiso Molefe, head off for a dream trip to Manchester, England, organised by international sports firm Global Sports International, where they trained with some of the best young players in the Under-17 age-group from around the world.
In 2010, the Talent Search produced winners in young rising stars Rorisang Tlhabane, Andile Nqabeni and Sboniso Mncwabe, who went to Belo Horizonte in Brazil for a week of training at the youth academies of top Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro in December 5-12.
For further information, please visit www.future-champions.net