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Lakay: Realise Your Dream

Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder, Lyle Lakay, believes the Engen Knockout Challenge is a stepping stone for youngsters towards realising their dream of becoming professional footballers.
 
Lakay, who is the tournament’s ambassador for the Free State, is one of the many high-profile players who graduated from this successful competition, which is celebrating 10 years of existence this year.
 
“At my age, I’m very honoured to have been chosen by Engen to become the ambassador for the tournament. It is a great thing for me to play an ambassadorial role for such a big brand. I believe this is the beginning of greater things to come to me. I feel really blessed,” Lakay said.
 
“This tournament is a very solid foundation that has been used by many players to launch their soccer careers. I’m encouraging youngsters who are going to play in the tournament this year to go out there and enjoy themselves.
 
“They would not know who will be watching them. But they must not put themselves under unnecessary pressure. It is in such competitions as this one where they should display their God-given talent because Engen Knockout Challenge might be their passport to the elite league,” he added.
 
The launch and draw for this year’s edition was conducted in Bloemfontein on Thursday. Sixteen teams will be battling it out for the first prize and trophy at the Grey College’s Windmill Park from July 5 to July 7.
 
This year’s format will be much the same as in the previous editions. There will be one significant addition to the event – two ladies teams will play as curtain raisers before the final.
 
“Our vision remains to support the development in football as a part of community cohesion. We look forward to this youth tournament each year as it is instrumental in providing development and exposure opportunities for the young football enthusiasts who would traditionally not be able to participate in an event of this stature,” Engen Group sponsorship manager Brad Bergh said.
 
Meanwhile tournament director Ludwig Koekemoer said it was all systems go for the Challenge.
 
“We are ready for the tournament. Everything is in place and we are just waiting for the start of the event. We encourage supporters to come in their numbers because there will be some prizes to be won for them,” he said.
 
Entrance to the event is free.
 
The Free State groups are as follows:
Group A: Botshabelo Stars FC, Bloemfontein Celtic, Harmony Academy, James FC
Group B: Junior Arizona FC, Mata FC, Tikwana, HTS Louis Botha
Group C: Lekhulong, Hodisa, Thabo Vuyo, Grey College
Group D: Red Sea FC, Mangaung Centre, Brebner, Bloem Stars FC

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