The Under 18 Engen Champ of Champs football tournament has become one of the most successful development tournaments in South Africa.
Ten of the players who were part of the recent Bafana Bafana squad that played against Libya in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Durban, are products of this tournament.
The tournament is proof that the journey to stardom starts here. Some of the international players who graced the Engen tournament include the likes of Percy Tau, Keegan Dolly and Sifiso Hlanti.
The Champ of Champs tournament is also often frequented by local and international scouts. And Tournament director Giancarlo Ballosini says this year will be no exception.
“Last year we were fortunate enough to have couple scouts from Belgium. We had all of our local scouts and agents. It’s nice to see that a lot of the PSL head coaches came through and they were looking at the talent. we were fortunate to have nice chats with them and see from a tournament director point of view where can we improve, what are they looking for”.
The tournament also promotes a contest of strength versus strength. And they are using the Diametric Identification System to curb age cheating.
The tournament ambassador, former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Brian Baloyi, says the tournament is one of the most successful events in South Africa.
“This is arguably one of the best youth tournaments in the country if not on the continent, and well organised; even the talent that comes out of this tournament. We just heard now that almost two hundred young people have been unearthed here to go and realise their dreams”.
This year will be the 16th edition of the Engen Cup involving different regional winners. This year’s tournament will feature three coastal and three inland teams. Hellenic FC represent the Western Cape, while there are also teams from the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Gauteng.