Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC and NPFL All Start become the final international teams to join the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament

Johannesburg, Tuesday, 5th March 2019 – The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament brings together teams from all over the globe and 2019 is no different with four continents represented in South Africa.

The prestigious Under-17 tournament will be staged at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto from 25th to 30th March, when top international entrants take on the best of the Gauteng Province for the coveted trophy.

Making their debut will be Chinese side Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC, who will hope to emulate compatriots Shandong Luneng, who lifted the trophy in 2010 after they beat French giants Paris St Germain on penalties in the decider.

Beijing Sinobo Guoan compete in the Chinese Super League, which they won in 2009, and have claimed the country’s FA Cup on five occasions, most recently in 2018.

The senior team is currently coached by the German Roger Schmidt, while they count among their players DR Congo international Cédric Bakambu and the former Brazil national team star Renato Augusto.

They also supply several players to the Chinese national team at all age-group levels.

“This is our first time in South Africa and we think it will improve our players’ international vision. On the other hand, they have to play five matches in six days, which is a good challenge for them with regards their physical condition,” said Coach Zhai Biao.

“We hope we can not only study different football philosophies of the other teams, but also show our ability. We hope our players can experience different cultures and make some new friends in South Africa.” concluded Biao.

Joining them in the field is the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) All-Stars Under-17 side, made up of players in the junior teams of Nigerian top-flight clubs.

The select team appeared at the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament in 2017 and made it all the way to the final before being beaten 2-1 by Spanish LaLiga side Atletico Madrid.

Nigerian footballers have made a massive mark in global football and provide some of the most revered names from the African continent, including Vincent Enyeama, John Obi Mikel, Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Sunday Oliseh.

“The NPFL All-Stars U17 are looking forward to the upcoming Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament. The players and coaches are excited and working hard towards this tournament,” said the head of the delegation, Mansur Aminu.

“This tournament allows the NPFL to develop more grassroots football, and the youth players to showcase their talents and compete with teams from all over the world.

“Let’s go NPFL All-Stars. Naija!” concluded Aminu.

The other international teams confirmed for the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament are RCD Espanyol de Barcelona (Spain), Reggio Audace (Italy), Spartak Moscow (Russia), FC Brugge (Belgium), Club Tijuana (Mexico) and All India Football Federation (India).

They will join the four local sides that qualify from the Future Champions Gauteng Cup that will be staged on 16th and 17th March.

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  • 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