Time for Future Champs tournament

Johannesburg, Wednesday, 23rd March 2011

The 2011 Future Champions Gauteng will be held from March 28 to April 2 and will feature some of the best Under-17 sides in the world in one festival of football.

Now in its third year, the Future Champions Gauteng, organised by Global Sports International on behalf of the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, has proven a massive success with some scintillating football featuring the best of South Africa against top sides from around the world.

The tournament will be played at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, while the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on April 1, with the action to begin at 10h00 each day.

March 31 is nominated as a rest day for the teams, who will visit the world-famous Sun City resort and Pilanesberg Game Park. The teams will be hosted throughout this exciting programme by Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela.

The matches at the Moruleng Stadium will afford the teams the opportunity to enjoy more of what Mzansi has to offer in an environment very different to that of Soweto. It will also give the people of Moruleng the chance to see some world-class future talent in action.

The final of the Future Champions Gauteng will be played at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto on April 2 with a kick-off time of 17h00.

There will be 12 sides competing in this year’s event, four South African sides in the form of Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns and BidVest Wits, to take on eight international entrants.

The international sides are PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), CF Pachuca (Mexico), CD Universidad Catolica (Chile), Clube Atletico Mineiro (Brazil), FC Rubin Kazan (Russia), K-Stars (Zambia), Apapa Golden Stars (Nigeria) and Gaborone Young Zebras (Botswana).

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 semifinals. The remaining eight sides play-off to determine positions five to 12.

The last Future Champions Gauteng competition 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 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