The path to the 2017 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament has begun

The path to the 2017 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament has begun with the four school sides set to participate at the upcoming Future Champions Gauteng Cup and come a step closer to achieving their aim of competing with some of the best Under-17 sides in the world.

Esokwazi Secondary School, Bophelo Impilo Community School, Kwadukathole Comprehensive and Kingsway High School have all booked their place in the Gauteng Cup that will be staged on March 11, at which the four qualifiers for the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament will be revealed.

That competition will be staged from March 20-25 at the Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto and feature 12 teams all vying for the right to be crowned champions, including some top names from the world of international football.

Returning for a third year in a row will be Italian club Torino FC, whose senior side campaign in Serie A.
Torino first appeared at the tournament in 2015 when they claimed the title, defeating local Gauteng side SuperSport United 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out in the final following a 0-0 draw.

They were back last year but this time finished in fifth place, though a number of their players caught the eye, including the free-scoring Alessandro Iacuaniello.

The club hails from the beautiful city of Turin and count giants Juventus as their major rivals.
Torino was one of the first teams in Italy to adopt a youth system, organised as early as the 1930s.
The club holds the record for the most youth league title wins in Italy having claimed nine, the last in the 2014/15 season.

“To return to Johannesburg is always exciting for all of us. We are proud to participate in the 2017 edition of the tournament,” Torino’s head of youth, Massimo Bava, said.

The second European team to compete in 2017 is Belgian side Club Brugge, who also took part in the 2016 edition.
They finished a healthy seventh, but will hope to improve on that showing.

Club Brugge are one of the most decorated sides in their local domestic competition having won 14 Belgian league titles, second only to rivals Anderlecht, with their last success in 2015/16.

They won the Belgian Cup in 2015 for the 11th time and in the 1970s and 80s were regular visitors to the latter stages of European club competitions.

The side is currently coached by former Belgian international goalkeeper Michel Preud’homme, and is among the leading contenders for the championship again this year.

They have a long history of helping to develop African talent, including ex-South Africa international Elrio van Heerden.

“Evolution In football is more and more ‘thinking and acting global’. The Future Champions Gauteng tournament allows us to compete with different teams from around the world,” says Pascal De Maesschalck, head of the club’s academy.

“This tournament creates the possibility to learn more about the way football is played in Africa. And at the same time, we also can play against teams from Central America and Asia. All that is necessary to develop players in every way!”

The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament is organised by Global Sports International in conjunction with the Gauteng Provincial Government.

  • 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