President of the South African Football Association Dr Danny Jordaan, is highly impressed with the quality he saw at the recently-ended 2016 SAFA-Burger King u19 Men’s Championship that was held in Cape Town.

Dr Jordaan was part of those in attendance to watch as Gauteng were crowned champions after beating Santos 3-0 in the Burger King-sponsored competition which came to an end on Sunday, 18 December.

The final took place at the Phillipi Stadium.

The week-long tournament started on Tuesday, 12 December with 12 teams – nine provincial sides and three invited clubs.

This was the second edition of the competition – the first was played in 2014 in Bloemfontein and Supersport United were crowned champions.

Dr Jordaan says for South Africa to become world beaters, a lot of emphasis must be placed on such junior tournaments.

“2016 has been a phenomenal year for us as an Association. Our u20 Women’s National Team (Basetsana) have been crowned champions in Angola in the AUSC Zone 5 Games after defeating Namibia 5-0 in the final – they are the Southern African champions. Our u20 Men’s National Team lost 2-1 to Zambia in the COSAFA u20 Cup, so they are number two in Southern Africa. Our u17 Men’s National Team (Amajimbos) and Bafana Bafana are number one in Southern Africa,” said Dr Jordaan.

“We have achieved tremendous progress with all our national teams – and all of this comes from such youth tournaments. What we saw here at the SAFA-Burger King u19 Men’s Championship is the next generation of our u20 National Team. We all know that Amajita (u20 National Team) are going to Zambia to play for a place in the top four and try to qualify for the FIFA u20 Men’s World Cup, which will be played in Korea in 2017. Bear in mind that should they succeed there, some of their players would be part of the u17 National Team that went to the FIFA u17 Men’s World Cup in Chile.”

The SAFA President adds that game time,which leads to more experience, is key.

“We realise that by the time they play in Bafana Bafana they have World Cup experience behind them, so they won’t go to bafana with a first cap, they will go there 50 or 60 junior caps when they become seniors and also it will be their third World Cup by the time they get to FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar. That is what we want to achieve, and so Vision 2022 is about recognising that senior success is based at success at junior level,” added Dr Jordaan.

“When the Portuguese team and also the Spanish team won the u20 World Cup tournaments, they went on to become the European champions and finally world champions at senior level. So to become world champions you have to start here at junior level, and so our investment is beginning to bear fruit and our junior teams are becoming successful. We would like to take take this opportunity and pass our greatest gratitude to Burger King for coming on board to support the vision we have. Without them, some of these things would not be possible.”