The Future Champions Gauteng Cup heads for the WJ Clemments Stadium in Reiger Park

Johannesburg, Friday, 8th March 2019 – The 2019 Future Champions Gauteng Cup will provide the best school teams and academies in the Province with the platform to showcase their quality, when the tournament takes place at the WJ Clemments Stadium in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni on 16th and 17th March, 09h00 kick off.

The top four Under-17 boys’ teams over the weekend will advance to the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament that is celebrating its 11th year at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto from 25th to 30th March.

Awaiting them are some of the top club academies in the world from four different continents in what will be another magnificent festival of football.

For the second year running the Gauteng Cup will also include a girls’ competition as six teams battle it out to lift the trophy in 2019.

The draw sees the 16 boys’ teams placed in four groups each containing four sides, with the winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Group A contains Bidvest Wits, Phafogang Secondary School, SAFA Johannesburg and SAFA Ekurhuleni, while Group B features SuperSport United, Highlands Park, SAFA West Rand and Clapham High School.

Group C also has two professional academies in Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos, as well as SAFA Tshwane and Reshegofaditswe Secondary School.

Finally, Group D consists of two giants in Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates FC, SAFA Sedibeng and Esokwazi High School.

The girls’ competition, which will be played entirely on 17th March, features two pools, each containing three sides, with Group A containing SAFA West Rand, SAFA Sedibeng and Dr BW Vilakazi High School, and Group B SAFA Ekurhuleni, SAFA Tshwane and SAFA Johannesburg.

“It is hard to believe that we have had a decade of the Future Champions Gauteng Tournament and seen so many budding young players go on to have excellent careers, both in South Africa and for their clubs abroad,” said the Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Ms Faith Mazibuko.

“As ever, the Gauteng Cup is a crucial stepping-stone towards that and it gives out academies, schools and SAFA districts the opportunity to showcase their talent and take that next step to fulfilling their dream of becoming professional footballers.

“As the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, we are delighted to lend our support to the tournament and which the competing boys and girls the very best for the Gauteng Cup.” concluded MEC Mazibuko.

The previous 10 Gauteng Cup tournaments played since 2009 have all been won by academy teams, with SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates FC leading the way with three titles each.

Defending champions Bidvest Wits have two wins, while Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns are the other teams to have claimed victory.

“We once again have a superb field for this year’s Gauteng Cup with such a great mix of club academies, schools and the SAFA regions. It will be interesting to see if one of the teams can break the run of the academies in lifting this trophy,” said the Future Champions Technical Director, Mr Phil Mogodi.

“This project has helped the SAFA Junior National teams to qualify for the U17 World Cup for boys and girls, as well as the U20 boys and Banyana Banyana, who have qualified for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, with our Ambassador and Future Players star, Refiloe Jane as the Vice-Captain.

“The Gauteng Cup allows for everybody to test their level against their peers. We would like to thank all stakeholders, but particularly the Gauteng Provincial Government for their unwavering support, not just this year, but since we started this fantastic project in 2009.” concluded Mr Mogodi.

President of SAFA Gauteng, Mr Willie Mooka, said: “SAFA Gauteng is delighted to be part of the Future Champions Gauteng Cup, fielding teams in both the boys and girls competitions.

“We have seen how beneficial this tournament has been to our players through the years and the addition of the girls’ competition in the last few years should be applauded. We wish all the teams the best of luck” concluded Mooka.

Learners who take part in the Gauteng Cup will also take part in the Future Players talent search, as well as a life skills course conducted by Love Life groundbreakers, focusing on HIV/Aids awareness.

“The Gauteng Cup is an important tournament for football development, but also has a vital life-skills component that gives our learners the tools to help safeguard them from social ills. As much as we encourage our learners to work hard in the classroom, we recognize also that sport plays a vital role in not just athletic health, but also the mental well-being of teenagers.” Gauteng MEC for Education, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, said.

“We are proud of our Gauteng Football Schools structure that has been a key partner of the Future Champions and SAFA Gauteng in the last few years to raise the level of our teams and provide a greater platform for learners,” concluded MEC Lesufi.

The Future Champions Gauteng Cup is once again being supported by LaLiga this year, providing the winners of the 2019 talent search with a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Spain.

“Yet again, as LaLiga we are seeing our partnership with SAFA reaping the rewards when it comes to football development around the country,” says LaLiga’s Africa Director, Antonio Barradas.

“Our objective in supporting schools soccer, which goes hand-in-hand with education, and the women’s game, is to provide a platform to harness every child’s talent as well as breaking boundaries of entry to quality development structures.

“Also using initiatives such as the Future Champions Tournaments and the Future Players, we aim to unearth our next stars, some of which will get a chance to travel to Spain later this year.” concluded Barradas.

Other sponsors include Clinix Health, Rand Water and Score Energy Drink.

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  • 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