THE annual Engen Knockout Challenge boys u.17 fever will hit Bloemfontein when 16 football teams battle it out for this year’s championship. The competition takes place at Grey College over three days, starting on Friday (22/07) and ending on Sunday (24/04). The regional tournament is staged in five provinces in South Africa in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Bloemfontein event serves as the Free State leg and features ten top-seeded schools and six community clubs that will propel their efforts to clinch the prestigious youth development title. Those featured, have been drawn into four groups.Group A: Virginia Academy, Tsoseletso, Navalsig, HTS Louis Botha; Group B: Bloemfontein Celtic, Dr Regional Cingo, Royal Stars and FC Hodisa; Group C: Brebner, Thotagauta, Thaba Nchu FC and Action Spar; Group D: Grey College, Roo Stars, Vulamasango and Junior Masters. The participating clubs will compete on a round robin basis to determine the finalists who will compete for this year’s title. The Virginia Academy (Harmony) holds the record for most wins Z nine in total in 11 years of participation in the competition. They are the current defending champions. Led by former Free State Stars midfield maestro, Pitso Mokoena, the academy would be gunning for their tenth title. They have featured in all finals over the 11 years of participating in the tournament. The event has established itself as the platform from which many young football hopefulls hope to launch their career to stardom, since its inception in 2003. It is regarded as having been a valuable stepping stone for over 100 players who have gone on to play professionally, both locally and abroad. Thulani Serero, Daine Klaite, Jody February, Rowen Williams, George Maluleka, Cole Alexander and Denwin Farmer have all featured in the tournament. Locally, notable breeds who also graced the tournament, include Teboho Mokoena and Felix Noge, both of the Virginia Academy and now with Premier Soccer League giants SuperSport United.