Mexico’s Club Tijuana and Zambia’s K-Stars join the 2013 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament

Johannesburg, Monday, 11 March 2013 – The 2013 Future Champions Gauteng will draw in teams from across the globe for the annual Under-17 international tournament that this year will include Club Tijuana from Mexico and K-Stars of Zambia.

They will join other top teams from around the globe in a 12-strong field for this year’s event, which promises to once again be one of the highlights of the junior international football calendar.

Club Tijuana is a relatively new club having been formed in 2007. The club competes in the Mexican top division and were crowned winners of the 2012 Apertura championship. They are coached by the Argentine tactician Antonio Mohamed.

The players are mostly home-based, but are also drawn from Colombia, Argentina and the USA.

“We are excited to compete and not only give our players vital experience on the field, but also off the pitch. Travelling to the Gauteng province for this event will be crucial in their development as they understand the demands of being a professional footballer and hopefully learn some life lessons too. Meeting players from all over the world and from different cultures allows our players to grow immensely,†says Roberto Cornejo, Club Tijuana.

Returning for the third year in succession is Zambian side K Stars, who have reached the semi-finals on both their previous visits to the competition.

They reached the semi-finals of the 2011 Future Champions Gauteng, before eventually losing to Russian outfit Rubin Kazan and finishing fourth. They ended one better in third position in 2012 as they defeated PSV Eindhoven in the play-off match for that position.

The club is owned by Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya and has a reputation for producing top talent in the country. Indeed, the club has already given a number of players to the Zambian junior national teams.

“The boys are excited and thrilled to be coming back to the Future Champions Gauteng. It is an event that our boys look forward to every season. We know that the competition will be tough, but having come close before, we are coming to win it this year,†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 within the group, plus one crossover game with a team from another group.

The group stage matches will take place from Monday, March 25 to Wednesday, March 27, with each team playing one game per day. The play-offs and placing games are scheduled for Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30.

There were 84 goals scored in 30 matches at the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng, with Marcos Labandeira from Uruguay’s Nacional and Siyanda Ngcobo from Orlando Pirates the top scorers with six goals each.

Atletico Mineiro from Brazil finished as winners for the second year running, followed by Nacional and Zambia’s K-Stars.

The field of 12 teams for this year’s event will consist of eight international sides as well as Mzansi’s own Supersport United, AmaTuks, Johannesburg Secondary and SAFA Sedibeng.

  • 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