Cape Town - It has been announced that Sunderland AFC‘s U17
team will take on South African football club partners, Bidvest Wits U17’s, in
the group stage of the Future Champions Gauteng Cup in Soweto.
This will be the second year running that the young Black
Cats have competed in the prestigious tournament, which is highly regarded as
one of the most competitive youth tournaments in world football.
Competing against Sunderland AFC and Bidvest Wits in the
group stages will be Tuks FC from South Africa.
SAFC and Bidvest Wits have enjoyed a fruitful relationship
since agreeing to a football partnership in 2013, with SAFC’s Head of
International Football Development, Graham Robinson, working with the Clever
Boys’ coaches on a regular basis, sharing coaching and business expertise.
Graham said: “We work very closely with Bidvest Wits for the
benefit of both clubs and often share ideas, so it will be an exciting
encounter when the two youth teams come up against each other at the
“The boys at Wits are a very forward thinking team, they are
quick and physically very good, similar to Sunderland, so I’m sure it will be a
great spectacle for viewers.
“The tournament is very beneficial as the team are competing
against different clubs from across Africa and the globe, so they’ll be coming up
against different styles, techniques and even languages.
“It is also being filmed so there are pressures with that,
there is pre-match build up and post-match interviews, so the tournament is
very beneficial as it prepares them well for the future and the demands of a
Speaking about the experience of last year’s tournament,
Graham added: “A lot of the players are going there a year wiser, last year
they did very well but certain games over roared them.
“They were playing under different conditions, they had to
deal with the heat and lively crowds, so the atmosphere was very different, and
this year won’t be as much of a shock to the system.”
will kick-off their campaign on Monday 23 March against Group B side Orlando
side will then take on Tuks FC and Bidvest Wits, with the top side in each
group progressing to the semi-final stage and the remaining teams entering a
play-off round to determine places five to 12.