14 March 2018 – The 10th edition of the prestigious Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament will be staged at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto from 19th to 24th March, celebrating a decade of excellence as teams from all around the world vie for the trophy.

The twelve sides that will take part have contrasting styles and football backgrounds, and beyond the action on the pitch, it will be a chance for the players in the Under-17 age-group to share their cultural experiences.

Organised by Global Sports International, in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government, the tournament will feature five local sides and seven teams from around the world.

The five South African clubs, who earned their place in the tournament after qualifying from the Future Champions Gauteng Cup, are BidVest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Highlands Park and Jomo Cosmos. The first four teams qualified as pool winners, while Cosmos earned their spot as the team with the next best goal-difference.

They are joined by two sides from other parts of Africa, Nkana FC (Zambia) and Black Africa HopSol (Namibia), who like their South African counterparts will be seeking to become the first side from the continent to lift the coveted trophy.

The remainder of the competing teams are a selection of some of the top sides from across Europe, including Espanyol (Spain), ADO Den Haag (Netherlands), FC Brugge (Belgium), Spartak Moscow (Russia) and AC Reggiana (Italy).

The teams will be drawn into four groups each containing three sides and will play each other in a round-robin format, with the top teams in each pool advancing to the semi-finals.

The remaining eight sides will play-off to determine positions five to 12. There has been an added dimension to the Future Champions Gauteng campaign this year with the inclusion of a competition for SAFA regional women’s teams and the finalists, SAFA Johannesburg and SAFA Tshwane, will play as a curtain-raiser to the International Tournament final on 24th March.

Chief Executive of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dennis Mumble, says they are happy the competition has also recognised the growth of women’s football.

“In the development of any young footballers it is important to expose them to contrasting styles and ways of playing the game and for all teams that compete at the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament this will be the case. What is even more exciting is that there will be women’s teams participating, which indicates the high growth of women’s football. We are hoping to have more next year and beyond, but this is a good start.” Mumble says.

“This is officially the third year that LaLiga has been supporting this project with Spanish teams featuring in recent years. This year we are delighted to have Espanyol participating. A club with a rich history, Espanyol will provide further competitive edge and a new challenge to this year’s Future Champions tournament. Like past years, we’re excited to see which players and coaches will be selected to join in on the trip to Spain for further training and exposure.” said Antonio Barradas, Africa Director for LaLiga.

This year’s Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament will also be supported by Sedgars Sport, Clinix, LaLiga, Gauteng Coaches and the City of Joburg.

Entrance to the matches is FREE!