Cream of SA talent on display

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

The cream of South Africa's budding soccer stars will be on display at Vanderbijlpark when nine Under-17 provincial squads plus a South African School Football Association (Sasfa) select squad battle it out during the 2007 Safa Under-17 Youth Challenge finals.

The yearlytournament, which is expected to attract development coaches and scouts from professional teams and academies, gets under way on Sunday and will be wrapped up next Saturday (December 1).

Limpopo are the defending champions after beating stubborn Western Cape 3-1 in the final of last year's edition that was held in Rustenburg.

This year's event will be staged without the assistance of Coca-Cola.

Selokela Mosetle, Safa competitions manager, said: "The tournament has been playing as a Sasfa initiative assisted by Coca-Cola all along.

"This year Safa will be doing it by themselves and foot all the bills as it's our mandate to develop [players]."

The games will be played at two venues, Bophelong and Dick Fourie stadiums, with coastal and inland streams. There will be three games played at each venue a day.

The coastal stream comprises Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Western Cape and Sasfa. Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West are in the inland stream.

Meanwhile, Mpumalanga coach Innocent Mdaka has promised improved results this year after his squad were eliminated in the group stages last year . "We have selected a good squad, giving all players a fair chance. I hope this year's squad will go all the way and clinch the trophy," said Mdaka.