A HOST of future stars will be on display when Glenville Celtic host the Engen Under-17 Soccer Challenge for the fifth consecutive year at the Gelvandale fields from July 12-14. The tournament, which carries a R10000 winner’s purse, is now in its 10th year.
“It is a remarkable achievement for Glenville, considering we are the only amateur club in the country hosting the challenge. The tournaments in the other centres are hosted by PSL clubs,” said former deputy mayor Errol Heynes, who is president of the club. “Glenville has always been committed to youth development and for the past 15 years we have been running a junior tournament for kids ranging from under-9 to under-19 during the winter school holidays.”
Heynes, also the former municipal official who lead the city’s 2010 Fifa World Cup directorate said Glenville was celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and the club had a proud history of developing young players.
“Elrio van Heerden and Dane Klate have gone on to represent the country from our dusty streets. Jermaine Christians, Bassie Seagulls and Nyro Ngwengya have all represented the national under-21 team.”
Glenville’s most recent success is Banyana Banyana keeper Kaylin Swart. The second-year NMMU student is the daughter of tournament director Elroy Swart and is currently in Russia playing at the World Student Games. Swart said it was going to be a triple celebration – “the 10th Engen tournament, the fifth year of our association with the challenge and our 40th anniversary. So we are planning a bumper tournament”.
Part of the fun will be the selection of 10 loyal spectators, who will receive VIP treatment at the finals.
Engen corporate social investments coordinator Cindy Kotyi said the company was passionate about youth development and this year the youngster voted the best player in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg would be taken to Pretoria’s high performance centre where he would be able to live out his dream as a professional player, even if just a few days. During his stay he will experience what it is like to live the life of a professional footballer. The programme will include activities such as sports science training, technical sessions, bleep tests, psychology talks and many other activities that will be beneficial to his growth as a footballer.
The local challenge includes teams from East London, Cradock and Thornhill, as well as two school teams. The 16 teams have been divided into four groups. They will play a round-robin with the top two in each group advancing to the knockout.
Group A: Glenville Celtic, City Lads, Young Callies, Cradock Young Stars
Group B: Zwide Celtic, Thornhill United, Island City Real Stars, Molly Blackburn High School
Group C: Mabayibone Young Stars, Riverside, Vuyselela, Ebenezer
Group D: Subs, Motherwell Academy, Shining Stars, Victoria Park High School