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Default Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Jul 02, 2018 04:05 PM

SAB U21 National Champs digging for new talent

By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

THIS month, the South African Football Association (SAFA) and South African Breweries (SAB) as sponsors, are to deliver the highly anticipated SAB U21 National Championships.

And the good news for soccer lovers is that provincial squads have been hard at work in preparation for the week-long tournament, which is one of the prestigious football development programmes in South Africa.

According to organisers, KwaZulu-Natal has been earmarked as the hosts for this year’s edition.

The tournament continues to be a breeding ground for Premier Soccer League (PSL) and National First Division (NFD) clubs.

Star players like Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Happy Jele, Andile Jali amongst thousands of other professional footballers all honed their skills in the SAB League.

Today, the SAB league boasts over 30 000 youngsters playing football on a weekly basis.

Quite recently, US based, Tyron Mondi has lit up the National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region after putting up a player of the tournament performance which saw University Sports South Africa (USSA), clinch the title back in 2016 in Limpopo. The speedy and skilful winger was one of the outstanding players that saw USSA clinch the title which they went on to surrender to Gauteng in last season’s edition played at the Nike Training Centre in Soweto, report organisers.

Kaizer Chiefs striker, Yusuf Bunting is also a recent graduate of the National Championships where he finished as top goalscorer and player of the tournament. Here he helped his Gauteng side win the title.

The SAB U21 National Championships culminates each season of SAFA’s SAB League, as a showcase of the best talent that the SAB League has to offer.

Organisers further reveal that a total of nine provincial squads plus an invitational team from the USSA is chosen to compete against each other in the week-long tournament.

The 10 teams are pitted against each other in a public draw. The draw is conducted by SAFA and the SAB a few weeks before the start of the tournament.

The draw sees the 10 teams grouped into two groups of five. The top two finishers from each group advance to the semi-finals to compete for a place in the finals of the competition.

Notably, the National Championships have over the years grown to be becoming a breeding ground for professional scouts and coaches.

The exact dates and venue of the championships will be communicated by SAFA, at a later stage, organisers added.

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