Mkhonza quietly prepares for Olympics

GAUTENG MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation Lebogang Maile has described the inclusion of Refiloe Jane in the Banyana Banyana squad as a major boost for the department’s development.

Jane is the winner of the 2009 Future Players Identification Programme, a tournament sponsored by the provincial government.

Playing for Mamelodi Sundowns, Jane has been drafted into the Banyana squad currently in the Western Cape preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

“Jane’s elevation to Banyana Banyana is proof of the talent we have in Gauteng and the effectiveness of this identification programme,” Maile said.

“Gauteng is a hot-bed of football talent and the challenge for us is to unearth these gems and help them gain exposure.

“This programme has done that for Refiloe and I am quite sure there will be many more like her in the coming years.

“We hope to see Refiloe representing the country at the 2012 London Olympics.”

Banyana manager Zanele Khanyile confirmed the arrival of Jane at the team’s camp at the University of Stellenbosch.

“Coach Joseph Mkhonza and his technical staff have been monitoring her for sometime now and she is one of the rising defenders,” Khanyile.

Said Jane: “I hope to be at the Olympics later this year, and represent my country.”

Her Future Champions win gave her a week-long training tour to England, where she worked with the Manchester City youth team and played for their Under-17 side, before making a similar lasting impression at Everton Ladies.

Meanwhile, Banyana beat FC United boys’ Under 15 side 3-2 at the weekend.

Sanah Mollo, Leandra Smeda and Noko Matlou scored for the national team.

  • 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