Bfn Knockout Challenge back

2015-06-17 06:00
FIRED-UP: The Virginia Sports Academy coach Pitso Mokoena (right) and star player Victor Noosi who will feature in the Engen tournament. 
  Photo: Teboho Setena

FIRED-UP: The Virginia Sports Academy coach Pitso Mokoena (right) and star player Victor Noosi who will feature in the Engen tournament. Photo: Teboho Setena

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GREY COLLEGE will once again play host to the Free State leg of the Engen Knockout Challenge in Bloemfontein early next month.

The keenly-awaited u.19 competition, celebrating its 12th year, is undoubtedly one of the largest youth football tournaments in the country. It is set to take place from 3 to 5 July at Grey College’s Windmill Park in the Free State capital.

Part of the Engen Knockout Challenge’s success is its ability to produce new talent year after year.

The 2015 edition would prove to be no different as a high expectation is now standard. It is no secret that some of the most influential and probably most talented players of our great nation have all run out at the magnificent event in their junior years.

The likes of Keegan Dolly (Ajax Cape Town), Thulani Serero (FC Ajax, Netherlands), Ronwen Williams, Thuso Phala (all SuperSport United), George Maluleke (Kaizer Chiefs), Asive Langwe, Letsie Koapeng, Katlego Pule (all Bidvest Wits), Tshegofato Mabaso, Lyle Lakay (both Bloemfontein Celtic) and many more players have all come through the Engen Knockout Challenge.

Because of how big the tournament has become, it attracts coaches and scouts from across the country. They will be expected to flock to the event in search of the next generation of football superstars.

The event is expected to be as exciting as the previous editions, with an exceptionally high talent of football on display as the 16 participating teams battle it out for the championship.

The Harmony Academy of Virginia were crowned champions of the Free State leg of the competition in 2014 after defeating Royal Stars 2-0 in the final.

Pitso Mokoena’s boys have won the tournament more than any other team in the province and they will be coming back to try and defend their title.

“It’s very good for a team like the Harmony Academy to compete in what is said to be the biggest u.19 tournament in the country. It is a great opportunity for our boys to measure themselves against the best u.19 teams. We don’t really have a lot of u.19 soccer tournaments in the Free State,” said Mokoena.

“We are looking forward to the tournament. I’m positive we will successfully defend out title. We will have about 80% of our players who played in this competition last year. But, for some of our players, it will be their first time in the tournament, so hopefully we’ll put on a good show again.”

Brad Bergh, Engen Petrolium’s group sponsorship manager, said: “Engen is really proud of the contribution the tournament has made to young talent across South Africa, many of whom are now living their dreams, playing in the Premier Soccer League.”

The official launch and draw for the Engen Knockout Challenge in Bloemfontein will be held at Grey College on Wednesday (17/06) at 11:30

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