As you may have seen in past blog posts, the Revs U-16 team will travel to South Africa in the next week to compete in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament. The invitation to compete in this competition puts them in a class with some of the best youth academies in the World.
Past clubs to compete in the tournament include: Corinthians (Brazil), Club America (Mexico), DC United, Everton FC, Manchester United, Boca Juniors (Argentina), Paris Saint-Germain, and FC Barcelona.
How did you feel when you heard you’d be heading to South Africa, what did you think?
Sady: My jaw dropped when I heard we were going to South Africa. It’s not too often you get a free trip to get to play soccer with a great group of guys where the World Cup was last held. It’s a whole different culture and if it’s a tournament on the other side of the world, I know there’s going to be good teams to play there. We’ll get tough competition that we haven’t seen before.
Herrera: When they first said we were going to South Africa, the first thing I thought of was Johannesburg and the World Cup, so I’m really excited. They told us that it’s a huge tournament and the biggest teams in Europe come. Both of us making the roster is something to be proud of.
How do you think your team will do? Do you know about the other clubs and what you’ll be facing?
Herrera: We’re definitely going to face big clubs. They gave us a few names of clubs that have played in the past like Juventus, (Club Atlético) Peñarol, clubs from Rio de Janeiro. We can definitely compete against them, but it’s going to be really tough.
Sady: It’s going to be next level both physically and technically. With clubs like that, every one of their touches on the ball is going to be good so you can’t really mess up, especially being a defender. Here you can get away with stuff that you probably wouldn’t against the teams we’ll be facing.
What do you think are the team’s strengths and weaknesses going into the tournament?
Herrera: I think we’re a very technical team. We have a lot of really skilled players and we like to play with the ball. A weak aspect is communication definitely. Other teams are going to be out on the field communicating like professional soccer players so that’s something we need to do to help eachother out on the field. We can definitely compete with them skill-wise, but it’s also about the mentality and physicality aspects that we need to compete against them too.
The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament kicks off with group stage play next Monday. Other clubs competing this year include: Clube Atletico Mineiro (Brazil), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Nacional (Uruguay), FC Nania (Ghana), Gaborone Young Zebras (Botswana), K Stars (Zambia), and Aspire Academy from Qatar, who’s U-16 team dolled out an absolute beat down of ManU in the 2011 Milk Cup final. Additionally, four locally-based South African clubs will compete in the tournament: Orlando Pirates FC, Bidvest Wits, School of Excellence (Steven Pienaar is a former attendee) and Mohloli High School.
Stay tuned for updates about the team’s progress in the Rainbow Nation.