By FOCUS REPORTER
The Under-17 side of Dutch giants, PSV Eindhoven have been confirmed as one of the international entrants in the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions tournament to be held in South Africa from March 28 to April 2.
The competition, organised by the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, is one of the most prestigious junior competitions on the global football calendar and will feature four local sides competing against eight other entrants from around the world.
Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns have won the right to represent South Africa at the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions after they finished in the top four positions at the 2011 Under-17 Gauteng Cup in January, which served as a qualifier for the international competition.
And the local quartet will now be joined by PSV Eindhoven, who can count such global greats as Mark van Bommel, Philip Cocu, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Arjen Robben, Patrick Kluivert, Ruud van Nistelrooy, as well as the Brazilian duo of Romário and Ronaldo, among their former players.
PSV also have a strong African link. Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya spent five successful seasons there in the late 1980s and early 90s, while Ghana defender Eric Addo is also among their former players, as well as current Cote d’Ivoire international striker Arouna Koné.
The club’s youth academy is based at their De Herdgang headquarters, a world-class facility on the outskirts of the city that is also used by the senior team. This will be their first participation in the Future Champions event, and indeed the first entry from a side from the Netherlands.
“The Dutch game is legendary around the globe for its ‘Total Football’ and so we are delighted to have such a prestigious side from the Netherlands as PSV Eindhoven competing in the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions tournament. We saw at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when the Netherlands reached the final, the excellence in Dutch football and we look forward to seeing their ‘players of tomorrow’ in action as well,” said Mr Lebogang Maile, MEC for the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.
Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV) is based in the Dutch city of Eindhoven and is the second most successful side in the country after Ajax Amsterdam. The club was formed in 1913 and started out as a works team for employees of the electronics company Philips, who still sponsor the club today.
The team has won 21 Dutch League titles over the years, as well as eight Dutch Cups. In European competition, PSV won the 1977/78 UEFA Cup and the 1987/88 European Cup (the forerunner to the UEFA Champions League).
“The youth department of the PHILIPS SPORT VERENIGING (PSV) is delighted to envoy the U17 team to the Gauteng Future Champions tournament in South Africa” says Cees van Merode, Head of Tournaments PSV Eindhoven. “The team is currently number one in the competition together with Ajax and Feyenoord.
“Some of our team players are also part of the national U17 team. We are eager to make a good performance in South Africa, knowing that the South African people love our style of playing attractive football. Of course our goal is not only reaching the final but also to win it” Van Merode concludes.
The last Gauteng Future Champions competition was held in January 2010 and was won by Chinese side Shandong Luneng, who beat French outfit Paris Saint-Germain in the final. The Future Champions tournament then moved to Belo Horizonte in Brazil last December, where Brazil side Atlético Mineiro beat their compatriots, Cruzeiro, in the final.
For further information, please visit www.future-champions.net