The names of players who have made the cut for the KwaZulu-Natal U19 squad were officially unveiled during the Mayoral send-off breakfast that was hosted by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo at the Durban City Hall this morning.
Attending the send-off were the KwaZulu-Natal Sport and Recreation Head of Department Rohini Naidoo, South African Football Association’s Alpha Mchunu and the Head of Delegation Kwenza Ngwenya.
The squad left the province this morning to participate in the South African Football Association U19 Championships (Inter Provincial Tournament) to be held in Bloemfontein from 26 April to 01 May 2014. The tournament will feature nine provincial sides and three invited Premier Soccer League (PSL) sides. The matches will be played at Clive Solomon Stadium.
The Provincial side which will be led by the well accomplished local coach Scelo Qwabe, is in Group B and will battle it out with Bloemfontein Celtics Football Club, Gauteng Province and Mpumalanga Province.
The team will be using the Championships to prepare for the world class soccer tournament, the Durban Under 19 International Football Tournament that will be staged in Durban from 31 July to 09 August 2014. This global tournament will feature Everton Football Club from the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, Associazione Sportiva Roma, the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Sporting Lisboa e Benfica, the Dutch Eredivisie, Feyenoord, the Argentinean Primera Division, Club Atletico Boca Juniors and the Brazilian Serie A, Santos Futebol Clube and the South African Football Association Under 19 National Squad.
These 23 players were selected by the technical team led by the renowned international soccer scout Paulo Cardoso, who is recognised for identifying a remarkable amount of talent including FIFA 2013 World Footballer of the Year Christiano Ronaldo.
The players that made to the final squad of 23 are as follows: Brian Hlongwa (eThekwini), Denzel Williams (eThekwini), Kwanele Tembe (UMkhanyakude), Linda Bhengu (eThekwini), Lungisani Mngwengwe (eThekwini), Nkanyiso Nene (uMgungundlovu), Nkanyiso Zungu (eThekwini), Nkululeko Ngcobo (UMgungundlovu), Phiwenkosi Lukhele (eThekwini), Richard Biyase (eThekwini), Sandile Mthethwa (uThungulu), Sfiso Nzuza (uThungulu), Sphamandla Mtambo (Amajuba), Tebogo Vilakazi (eThekwini), Tre Gratham (UMgungundlovu), Trisan Troy Cox (Harry Gwala), Velemseni Ndwandwe (uThungulu), Zotha Ndawo (Amajuba), Sanele Nene (uThungulu), Simingaye Qumbisa (uThukela), Sphelelo Sithole (Zululand) Thabani Mngwengwe (eThekwini) and Andile Mbanjwa (uMgungundlovu).
Nxumalo and Naidoo wished the players well for the tournament and encouraged them to bring home the Cup.