Fast track to Future

Sowetan – Moholoa Ramatsiyi

Johannesburg, Monday, 7th March 2011 –

The Gauteng provincial government is using the 2011 Gauteng Future Championships as a perfect vehicle to help fast-track soccer development.

MEC for sports Lebogang Maile said they were delighted that the tournament was attracting some of the world’s soccer powerhouses.

Among the teams who had confirmed their participation were PSV Eindhoven (Holland), Atletico Mineiro (Brazil) and Heartland (Nigeria). On the local front, Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns would be among the 12 teams taking part.

Scheduled to take place in Johannesburg from March 28 to April, the 12 teams will be divided into four groups of three sides.

“This tournament is a big platform for our youngsters in Gauteng to gauge their strengths and weaknesses.” Maile said. “We need to compete with the best in the world to identify the areas where we are still lacking.”

Heartland were confirmed at the weekend, bringing a West African flavour to the competition won by Chinese side Shandong Luneng last year.

  • 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