K Stars and Aspire join the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament

Johannesburg, Monday, 19 March 2012 – The 2012 Future Champions Gauteng will draw in teams from across the globe for the prestigious Under-17 international tournament. This year’s line-up will include Qatar’s Aspire Academy and a return for K Stars from Zambia.

They will join already announced sides Clube Atletico Mineiro (Brazil), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), New England Revolution (USA), Nacional (Uruguay), FC Nania (Ghana) and Gaborone Young Zebras (Botswana) in a 12-strong field for this year’s event, which is hosted by the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence was started by HH Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and is one of the most modern facilities in the world, with state-of-the-art infrastructure to help nurture the country’s sports stars of tomorrow.

The Academy aims to drive an active sporting and healthy lifestyle for the people in Qatar and is recognized for its world-class facilities. They have an excellent football programme and will get the chance to show their progress at the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng.

“The players and staff of Aspire Academy welcome the opportunity to participate in this prestigious international tournament. It is an experience that will allow our young players to test themselves against the world’s best in the fantastic environment of South Africa. In addition to the expected tough competition, we look forward to sampling the culture and hospitality of the people of Gauteng,” says Paul Nevin, head coach of the football side.

Returning for the fourth time are Zambian side K Stars, who were the only African team to reach the semi-finals of the 2011 Future Champions Gauteng, before eventually losing to Russian outfit Rubin Kazan and finishing fourth.
The club is under the guidance of Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya and will be hoping to continue the feel-good factor for Zambian football after the success of Chipolopolo at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

That victory in the continental showpiece proved just what talent exists in Zambia and it is likely that we will be seeing some future international players in the K Stars squad this year. Indeed, the club has already given a number of players to the Zambian junior national teams.

“We are delighted to once again compete in this prestigious championship which bequeaths us and showcases amazing talents. We come to Gauteng in 2012 as Champions of Africa following Chipolopolo’s triumph at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and look forward to a wonderful competition, as we strive for our first Future Champions Gauteng title and join the class of our predecessors who from Gauteng have won regional gold and are superstars.” says Erick Mwanza, K Stars.

The Future Champions Gauteng tournament will begin with a group stage, with each of the 12 participating teams divided into four groups of three. Each team will play every other team within the group, plus one crossover game with a team from another group.

The group stage matches will take place from Monday, March 26 to Wednesday, March 28, with one game each day. The play-offs and placing games are scheduled for Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31.

The four Mzansi teams, joining the competition from yesterday’s Future Champions Gauteng Cup will be Orlando Pirates FC, Bidvest Wits, School of Excellence and Mohloli High School.

  • 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