MASHABA HAILS UNDER 19 INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
By: Mfundo Mabaso
The ‘Warmest Place To Be’ is once again hosting the Under 19 International Football Tournament for the second successive year from 29 July to 8 August.
The eight team tournament will be held in three Durban townships; Clermont, KwaMashu, Umlazi and also held in the city of Durban.
This tournament consists of eight teams, two local and six international. The tournament was officially opened at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium at Umlazi with the KwaZulu-Natal local team, KZN Academy, winning its first match.
Bafana Bafana coach, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, is certain that this tournament will be the start of new great things in South African football.
“We want our two teams in this tournament to come out number 1 and 2 but it’s not going to be easy.
In the past seven months there has been a lot of junior football that has been going on in South Africa and that is part of our SAFA technical plan,” said Mashaba.
Durban is always known to have great weather, whether in summer or winter, which is why it attracts so many events. The tournament organizer, David Broomhall, said that he was happy with the weather and turnout of the crowd.
“We chose Durban because of the atmosphere in this great city and mainly the weather, especially for the European clubs because it makes it ideal to play football.
“One of the reasons we brought the tournament to the townships was because we wanted to bring football to the people. The number of participants, and the interest from football fans, has grown from last year because we have television and media coverage,” he said.
Youth development in South African football is said to be the way forward to improve the national soccer team’s performance.
Bafana Bafana legend, Matthew Booth said, “I think this is a model that can be replicated around the country and hopefully, will include more South African teams. This tournament provides international experience for our two teams, which I think is fantastic.”