The Future Players Gauteng Talent Search has proved a superb launching pad for young careers

The Future Players Gauteng Talent Search has proved a superb launching pad for young careers, but perhaps none more so than South African women’s international Refiloe Jane, who is just back from competing at her second Olympic Games.

Jane was a winner of the Future Players programme in 2009 and has gone on to be a leading star for the women’s national team in the years since.

She played in all three matches for Banyana Banyana at the 2016 Olympics, including marking substitute Marta, one of the greats of women’s football, out of the game in the 0-0 draw with Brazil.

For the 24-year-old, who is forever grateful to the Future Players programme, this is just the beginning.
“It was a great experience to be at the Olympics in Brazil, even though we did not progress to the knockout stages,” Jane says. “We are disappointed we could not get out of the first round, but at the same time proud of the performances we put in.

“We played against some of the top teams in the world in Sweden, China and Brazil, and we gave all of them a run for their money. We were not overawed or outplayed, we were just unlucky at times.”

“I think I had a good tournament. To play in all three games was great and I gave it my all. Although things didn’t go our way it was a positive experience and something to learn from.”
She will continue her career with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in the Sasol League.

“Winning the Future Players Gauteng Talent Identification Programme really kick-started my career and gave me so much confidence to believe that I can play for a top local side and even internationally,” Jane says.

“I hope I can be an inspiration to other girls and guys that you can achieve your dreams with hard work.”

Jane also appeared for Banyana Banyana at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, playing all three matches at that tournament too. 

“I think we have improved a lot as a team between the two Olympic Games and we can be proud of our achievements. For us the challenge now as players is to keep getting better and lift women’s football in South Africa.”

This year’s Future Players winners were Philani Kunene, Prince Moeketsi and Charlton Jade, who will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Spain as guests of LaLiga. There they will visit some of the biggest clubs in the world and take in training at academies.

  • 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