Tijjuana, Mineiro join Sundowns

Title-holders Club Tijuana from Mexico and Brazil’s Clube Atletico Mineiro completed the semi-final line-up at the 2014 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament on Wednesday as the final group stage matches were played at the Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.

The duo joined Mamelodi Sundowns and Congolese Academy CESD La Djiri in the final four after they booked their places on Tuesday.

With Thursday being a rest day from the football as the teams enjoy the culture and energy of the Gauteng Province, Friday’s semi-final line-up will see Club Tijuana tackle CESD La Djiri and Sundowns take on 2011 and 2012 winners Clube Atletico Mineiro.

Club Tijuana won top spot in their Group C after a 1-1 draw with Aspire Academy on Wednesday, a match in which the Mexican side’s Marco Vargas scored at both ends.

The other game in the group was awarded as a 3-0 walkover to South African school Sunward Park after Nigerian side Saki West were unable to take part in the tournament.

“The visa application process and further travel difficulties mean that Saki West have been unable to take part in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament as scheduled this year. Their place in the playoff stages will be taken by local side Bidvest Wits, who will play as a guest team,” said project director Ray Whelan.

Clube Atletico Mineiro made it three wins from three in Group B to top their pool following a 1-0 success over Zambian side K-Stars. Bruno scored the only goal of the game.

Netherlands club ADO Den Haag edged SuperSport Tottenham Hotspur Academy 3-2 in the other match in the pool to take third spot in the pool, with Jan Verduijn (two) and Dennis van der Heijden on target for them. Athenkosi Dladla and Karabo Nkoana netted for the South Africans.

CESD La Djiri had already sealed top spot in Group A when they lost 2-1 to Canadian side Toronto FC, for who Luca Uccello netted twice to become joint top-scorer in the competition with three goals, a tally matched by Sundowns’ Lovers Malatsi.

Jomo Cosmos finished their pool campaign on a high when they defeated Chinese side Shandong Luneng 2-1 in the other match in the group. Khomotso Marebane and Kagiso Moshotetsi scored for the South Africans, while Tianci Bai netted for the Asian team.

Sundowns made it three wins from three games with another comprehensive success, defeating Indian side Royal Wahingdoh 3-0, thanks to goals from Notha Ngcobo, Mpumelelo Hlatshwayo and Tshepiso Mbongwa.

The Pretoria side finished the pool stage as the leading scorers with eight goals from their three games, conceding just one.

English team Sunderland AFC and a USYSA Select side from America ended in a 1-1 draw. Andrew Nelson scored for the Young Black Cats, while Connor DeFilippis was on target for the Americans.

After their day off on Thursday the teams will resume matches with the playoff rounds and semifinals on Friday.


Jomo Cosmos 2 (Khomotso Marebane, Kagiso Moshotetsi) Shandong Luneng 1 (Tianci Bai)

Mamelodi Sundowns 3 (Notha Ngcobo, Mpumelelo Hlatshwayo, Tshepiso Mbongwa) Royal Wahingdoh 0

Sunderland AFC 1 (Andrew Nelson) USYSA 1 (Connor DeFilippis)

Club Tijuana 1 (Marco Vargas) Aspire Academy 1 (Marco Vargas og)

Sunward Park 3 Saki West 0 – walkover

Clube Atletico Mineiro 1 (Bruno) K-Stars 0

SuperSport TH Academy 2 (Athenkosi Dladla, Karabo Nkoana) ADO Den Haag 3 (Jan Verduijn 2, Dennis van der Heijden)

CESD La Djiri 1 (Yves Tchicaya) Toronto FC 2 (Luca Uccello 2)

  • 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