Atletico Mineiro victors in 2011 Future Champions Gauteng

Johannesburg, Saturday, 2nd April 2011 – Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro have been crowned winners of the 2011 Future Champions Gauteng on Saturday after they beat Russian club Rubin Kazan 3-0 in the tournament decider at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto.

It capped another fantastic final day of action that saw 22 goals scored in just six matches, providing the spectators with some scintillating football as some of the best Under-17 sides in the world put on a fabulous show.

Atletico Mineiro clinched the title in fine style with a sumptuous performance in the final, adding to the 2010 Future Champions Belo Horizonte tournament that they won on home soil in December.

The hero for the Brazilians was Lucas Kattah, who scored a hat-trick in the decider, the first goal a penalty, to take his tally for the competition to four. He was at the heart of everything that Atletico did and it was an outstanding individual performance from a player we are sure to hear much more from in the future.

Earlier in the day, third place went to Mexican side Pachuca, who beat K Stars of Zambia 5-2 in a thrilling match that produced the most goals in a game at this year’s tournament. Angel Bautista, Simon Almeida, Erick Carrillo (two) and Josue Marcado were on target for the Central Americans, while Musesha Phiri and Lubambo Musonda scored for K Stars.

South African side Orlando Pirates clinched fifth as they beat compatriots Bidvest Wits 2-1 and in doing so qualified for the 2011 Future Champions Belo Horizonte tournament to be played in Brazil in December. Siya Mzimela and Nanana Ntuli (penalty) scored for The Buccaneers, while Muhamed Patel got his third in three games for The Clever Boys.

Another South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns, took seventh as they beat Botswana outfit Gaborone Young Zebras 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Madumetsa Khwinana. It was a tight game that could have gone either way, but Sundowns kept their nerve to edge the honours.

Chile side Universidad Catolica took ninth position in the tournament as they beat Nigerians Apapa Golden Stars in another fantastic game that finished 3-2. Fernando Iturriaga (two) and Guillermo Maripan were on target for the victors, while Olawala Wahab and Ablodun Ibrahim netted for the African side. Ibrahim’s goal took his tally to five for the competition and he finished as top-scorer.

Dutch club PSV Eindhoven claimed eleventh as they beat locals Jomo Cosmos 3-0, with Mohamed Rayhi, Moussa Sanoh and Rai Vloet on target. It was a comprehensive win for the European side, who will be delighted to have ended off with a win.

  • We had a wonderful football and cultural experience in Gauteng. The tournament and activities were very well organized and we found everyone involved extremely helpful and accommodating. We have all returned home with fantastic memories of our time in South Africa, both on and off the pitch, and have made many new friends as a result of the trip. I hope that we are invited to participate in future tournaments.

    Everton Academy Head Coach
  • The experience both on and off the field for our players during the Future Champions tournament in Gauteng was life-enriching for all those who participated. We were privileged enough to win this edition but what will be bringing us back in future is the cross-cultural education our players receive from spending time with athletes from all over the world. They are human beings before they are football players and enriching them with other cultures is as rewarding as the experience they receive on the field.

    Club Tijuana Director of Football
  • After twenty years of experiencing tournaments around the globe, Future Champions is hands down the best organized, well run International Tournament we have ever participated in. Bringing teams from dozens of different countries provided our boys exposure to cultural diversity they only read about in textbooks. It’s amazing how sport can be the cultural link that provides the opportunity to interact with each other and discover that our global community is a bit smaller than they realized. We had a football and cultural experience that will be cherished for the rest of our lives.

    Director of USYSA Select
  • For us to compete in Future Champions is much more than playing a series of matches. It is an opportunity to compete and contrast our level against the best teams from around the world and the possibility of living in another culture and environment for an unforgettable week, learning about the history of the fight for human rights.

    Director of Aspire Academy
  • The addition of a girls’ competition this year is a natural expansion for what has become a hugely popular event. Over and above the football, the players are also exposed to life-skills courses and HIV/AIDS awareness that could end up saving their lives in the future. We have had an amazing partnership with the Gauteng Province over the last decade and we thank each and every stakeholder for making the Future Champions Gauteng campaign such a huge success

    Tournament director