The prestigious 2012 Future Champions Gauteng international tournament returns

Johannesburg, Thursday, 22 March 2012 – The prestigious 2012 Future Champions Gauteng international tournament returns for a fourth year of competition at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto from March 26-31.

The event has become a major fixture on the junior international football calendar and is one of the most respected tournaments in the Under-17 age-group in the world, drawing a superb line-up of teams from across the globe.

This year’s event will once again be organised by Global Sports International, in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government, SAFA Gauteng and the PSL. The tournament features teams from five continents in what will be a fascinating clash of footballing styles.

The international teams that will be competing are defending champions Clube Atletico Mineiro from Brazil, as well as their South American counterparts from Uruguay (Nacional), and New England Revolution from the USA.

There is also a first appearance for the Aspire Academy in Qatar and Ghana’s FC Nania, while Gaborone Young Zebras from Botswana, K-Stars from Zambia and PSV Eindhoven from the Netherlands all return after appearing in last year’s event.

These teams will be joined by four sides from South Africa, who have all won the right to compete in the international event following the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Cup played on the weekend of 17 – 18 March.

Orlando Pirates FC won the tournament and take their place once again in the Future Champions Gauteng international competition, having been the top-ranked South African side in last year’s competition when they finished fifth.

They are joined once again by Bidvest Wits, who return after a sixth-place finish in 2011, but who will be looking to do better than that after an impressive showing in the Future Champions Gauteng Cup.

The School of Excellence are the third South African side after they finished runners-up in the Future Champions Gauteng Cup. With previous alumni such as Steven Pienaar, Elrio van Heerden, Dillon Sheppard and Brett Evans, the school has a fine history of producing top stars.

Mohloli High School from Sharpeville are the fourth ‘home’ side after they went through a lengthy qualification process to reach this point. They won the inaugural Future Champions Schools Cup a fortnight ago, which gave them the right to compete in the Future Champions Gauteng Cup.

Having reached the semi-finals of that competition, they then qualified too for the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng international tournament and will now take their place among the elite teams from around the globe.

The format of the competition will be the same as in previous years. The 12 teams will be split into four first round groups of three teams, with one of the South African sides in each of those pools, along with two international entrants.

The teams play each other in a round-robin format, with the top sides in each pool advancing to the semi-finals. The remaining eight teams will play-off to determine positions five to 12.

The last Future Champions Gauteng competition was held in March and April of 2011 and was won by Brazilian side Clube Atletico Mineiro, who had also been victorious in the 2010 and 2011 Future Champions Belo-Horizonte competition in Brazil.

The Future Champions Gauteng competition before that was held in January 2010 and was won by Chinese side Shandong Luneng, who beat French outfit Paris Saint-Germain in the final. The inaugural event in 2009 was won by Argentinean club Boca Juniors.

“We are delighted to once again welcome the Future Champions Gauteng tournament to our province and having seen the field of teams, we believe this will be the best staging yet of the prestigious international event. I would like to welcome our eight sides from around the world to Gauteng, and also wish the very best for the four teams from Mzansi who will be seeking to keep the trophy in South Africa for the first time,†said Lebogang Maile, MEC for the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.

Tournament Director, Ray Whelan said: “The three previous Future Champions Gauteng events have been an outstanding success and we are looking forward to building on that momentum in 2012. We believe we have compiled a very good field of teams and with the superb facilities we have in place, as well as the tremendous support of our partners, the Gauteng Provincial Government, PSL and SAFA Gauteng, we are ready to deliver another world-class event.”

Also returning this year is the Future Players Talent Identification programme that seeks to unearth the bright young stars of tomorrow by assessing thousands of young boys and girls from around the province to see if they have the potential to be future stars.

The Future Champions Gauteng tournament is also delighted to announce the ambassador for the 2012 competition in the form of ex-Manchester United and Bafana Bafana star Quinton Fortune.

Group A:
School of Excellence (SA)
KStars (Zambia)
New England Revolution (USA)

Group B:
Orlando Pirates FC (SA)
FC Nania (Ghana)
Nacional (Uruguay)

Group C:
Bidvest Wits (SA)
Aspire (Qatar)
Clube Atletico Mineiro (Brazil)

Group D:
Mohloli High School (SA)
Young Zebras (Botswana)
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

For further information and results, please visit:

  • 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