– The draw has been made for the 2017 Future Champions Gauteng Cup that sees 16 of the best academy and schools teams from across the Province compete on Saturday, 11 March for the coveted prize at the WJ Clements Stadium in Reiger Park, Boksburg.
The four semi-finalists will gain entry in the prestigious Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament to be played from 20-25 March where some of the best junior teams from around the world will converge on the province.
“We are delighted to once again host the Gauteng Cup, which showcases the best footballing talents in our Province and provides them with the chance to shine. Football is a huge part of our communities across the province and we have tens of thousands of young boys and girls who dream of making a professional career out of the game. We are proud to be able to help them achieve that dream through the Future Champions Gauteng initiative,” said Gauteng MEC for Sport, Culture and Recreation, Ms Faith Mazibuko.
Group A contains the academy of Premier Soccer League sides SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates FC, the team from SAFA Johannesburg and Kingsway High School, who qualified via the Future Champions Gauteng Schools Cup last month.
The academies of Bidvest Wits and University of Pretoria, SAFA West Rand Region and Kwa-Dukathole Comprehensive comprise Group B, while Group C is made up of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Highlands Park, SAFA Ekurhuleni Region and Schools Cup losing finalists Bophelo-Impilo Community School.
Finally, Group D contains Kaizer Chiefs, Schools Cup winners Esokwazi High School, and SAFA sides from the Sedibeng Region and Tshwane Region.
The matches begin at 08h00 with the pools being played in a round-robin format. The winner in each group advances to the semi-finals, and the 2017 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament, which will be played at 16h30.
The final in which this year’s winner will be crowned is scheduled for 17h30.
Tournament Director, Ray Whelan and the driving force behind the Gauteng Future Champions concept, says they are expecting the best tournament yet in 2017.
“We are delighted to have another superb field for this year with such a great mix of club academies, schools and the SAFA regions. It allows for everybody to test their level against their peers and will make for a fascinating tournament. We would once again like to thank all stakeholders, but particularly the Gauteng Provincial Government for their unwavering support, not just this year, but since we started this fantastic project in 2009,” Whelan says.
The previous eight tournaments played since 2009 have all been won by academy teams, with SuperSport United leading the way with three titles.
Orlando Pirates (two wins), Moroka Swallows, Bidvest Wits and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns are the other teams to claim victory.
The Future Champions Gauteng Cup is organised by Global Sports International in conjunction with the Gauteng Provincial Government.