Future Champs ‘way to go’

FORMER Transnet Football School of Excellence coach Sam Mbatha believes the Gauteng Future Champions tournament is a perfect platform to expose local youngsters to international soccer.

Mbatha said more development tournaments of this calibre were needed for South Africans to know their strengths and weaknesses.

Mbatha, who is now working for Absa Premiership side Platinum Stars in their development programme, applauded the Gauteng provincial government for financing the tournament.

“It’s such a great honour to see top clubs from Brazil, Russia and Chile coming to play against some of our youngsters in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“When I was still the School of Excellence’s coach, we used to feature in a series of local and international competitions. Big names like Steven Pienaar, Brett Evans, Masilo Modubi and Bernard Parker were part of the set-up at the school.

“Those tournaments helped expose them to international competition. We will do well as a country if more of our clubs participate in such competitions.”

The Premier Soccer League has commended the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation for assisting in the development of the game through the tournament that ended at the weekend.

“We appreciate the role played by our government in getting involved in community development projects,” said PSL chief operations officer Ronnie Schloss.

  • 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