Italy’s Torino FC claim the 2015 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament title

Italian side Torino FC claimed the 2015 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament title in the most dramatic of fashion after defeating home side SuperSport United 5-4 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out at the Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, on Saturday (28 March 2015).

The teams had played to a 0-0 draw in regulation time and then needed 16 penalties in the shoot-out before the Italians finally triumphed.

SuperSport had three chances to win it in the shoot-out but Torino goalkeeper Fabio Ficco proved the hero as he made four saves in a row to hand his side the title.

Torino are the second team from Italy to compete in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament, and denied SuperSport United the chance to become the first home winners.

Torino’s Matteo Tobaldo could not find a goal in the final but finished top-scorer in the tournament with four goals.

Orlando Pirates FC took the bronze medal when the Gauteng side edged compatriots Bidvest Wits in a penalty shoot-out in a tight play-off fixture.

After neither side could find the back of the net in regulation time, the young Buccaneers triumphed 4-2 in the shoot-out to finish the competition in third.

Brazilian side Cruzeiro EC ended in fifth place as they too played to a hard-fought 0-0 draw with English club Sunderland AFC. The South American team held their nerve to win the penalty shoot-out 5-4.

Jomo Cosmos beat Dutch side ADO Den Haag to the number seven position as they edged their play-off fixture 1-0 thanks to a goal from Goodman Nxumalo.

Namibian club Oryx FC ended their tournament on a high with a 2-0 success over Zambian side K-Stars thanks to goals from Venovineja Tjikundi and Daniel Kamanya. The Namibians finished in ninth position.

Local Gauteng team University of Pretoria defeated Ferroviario de Maputo 2-1 to ensure they did not finish last and end the competition in 11th place.

Byron Mangena and Angelo deOliveira scored for the university side, while Hermenegildo Capena scored for the Mozambicans, his second of the tournament.

The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament also conducted the Future Players talent search programme around the Province over the past few months to identify three youngsters with the potential to be able to go on and have a professional career.

Female star Karabo Makhurubetshi from Thomas Mofolo Secondary School (Grade 11), Itumeleng Bereng of Mosupatsela Secondary School (Grade 9) and Leonardo Rooi from R.W. Fick Secondary School (Grade 8) are this year’s winners.

They will get a once-in-a-lifetime overseas football experience where they will train with academies abroad.

As part of the same search the coaches were put through their paces too and Abel Malanda, who leads the Orange Farm Under-17 side, won the 2015 prize and will also take part in the overseas football experience.

  • 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