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​Youth tournament attracts soccer internationals

Soccer fans are in for a treat this week as the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament gets underway at the Nike Sports Centre in Pimville, with entrance to matches free to the public..

The tournament, which features top local and international under-17 teams soccer sides, is hosted by the City of Johannesburg for the seventh successive year.

It is one of the most prestigious Under-17 competitions in the world.

The tournament kicked off on 23 March and runs until March 28. The 12 competing teams at the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament have been drawn into four groups of three sides each. They will play in a round-robin format to determine the group winners. These teams will compete for the coveted trophy in what is a major celebration of youth football.

The top clubs in each pool will advance to the semi-finals, with the remainder playing off for final positions. Group A contains local sides University of Pretoria and BidVest Wits, and will compete with English Premiership outfit Sunderland AFC, who are back for a second successive year. Orlando Pirates FC are in Group B along with Namibian side Oryx FC and Dutch outfit ADO Den Haag, who are also returning for another shot at the trophy.

Italian outfit Torino have been drawn in Group C along with Jomo Cosmos and K-Stars of Zambia, who are playing in their seventh Future Champions Gauteng. Finally, Group D contains SuperSport United, Mozambican club Ferroviário de Maputo and Brazilian side Cruzerio, who will be among the favourites to lift the trophy.

This tournament once again demonstrates that the City of Johannesburg is South Africa’s premier sporting destination. Councillor Chris Vondo, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Community Development said “this is an ideal platform which affords under 17 youth an opportunity to represent the Province and the Country at an International level”.

MMC Vondo further explained that the tournament was one of many initiatives by the City of Johannesburg to promote Competitive Sports as one of Community Development Department’s priority programme. This programme, among others seeks to develop Olympians and future stars that will contribute to SAFA 2022 Vision.​