Mopedi’s PSV edge Pirates

LED by Tumelo Mopedi, Holland giants PSV Eindhoven beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the Gauteng Under-17 Future Champions match at the Nike Football Training Centre yesterday.

Sander Heesakkers broke the hearts of many South Africans when he scored the all-important goal in this closely contested match.

Pirates needed a win to qualify for the semifinals billed for Moruleng Stadium in North West tomorrow.

This means there will be no South African club in the semifinals after Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, Jomo Cosmos and BidVest Wits were eliminated in the first round.

Mopeli is a former Bucs development player who left for Holland at the beginning of the year.

The only African side remaining in the tournament is K Stars, a Zambian team owned by Kalusha Bwalya.

K Stars will play Russian side Rubin Kazan in the first semifinal at 3pm, while Brazilian side Clube Athletico Mineiro and CF Pachuca of Mexico meet in another semifinal match afterwards.

Cosmos were hammered 4-0 by Athletico, Pachuca walloped Sundowns 3-1 and Wits’s 3-1 over Nigeria’s Appas Golden Stars was not good enough to guarantee them a semifinal berth.

The tournament is organised by the Gauteng department of sport. MEC Lebogang Maile said: “We are happy that the tournament is becoming one of the major sporting activities on the calendar of South Africa. We are disappointed that there is not a single local club in the semifinals but we hope they learned a lot from participating.”

  • 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