Bucs take third tilt at Premier Cup

ONE CHANCE: Pirates U-15 players training hard in Joburg. Development head Augusto
Palacios said there were no school holidays for the boys. Pic: ANTONIO MUCHAVE. 29/07/2009. © Sowetan
ONE CHANCE: Pirates U-15 players training hard in Joburg. Development head Augusto Palacios said there were no school holidays for the boys. Pic: ANTONIO MUCHAVE. 29/07/2009. © Sowetan

ORLANDO Pirates hope to make it third time lucky when they take part in this year's version of the Manchester United Under-15 Premier Cup's global finals in Carrington, Manchester, next week.

ORLANDO Pirates hope to make it third time lucky when they take part in this year's version of the Manchester United Under-15 Premier Cup's global finals in Carrington, Manchester, next week.

The young Buccaneers leave for the home of the Red Devils on Sunday evening where they will join 19 other teams from across the world in a bid to win the coveted trophy.

Pirates featured in the tournament in 2006 and 2007, finishing ninth the first time and eighth the next year. Last year South Africa was represented by SuperSport United.

Augusto Palacios, head of development at Pirates, yesterday said they had learnt from the two previous appearances and aim to go much further this time around.

"Both our coach, Sibusiso Masoka, and his assistant Simphiwe Ngwenya have been hard at work fine-tuning the players. There were no school holidays for the boys as this is a tough tournament and we aim to make a mark.

"Our aim is to go past the first round and we can take it from there, that is very crucial. We have been working on endurance and the players' concentration as we realised from past experience that just one mistake can cost us a game.

"We have to play two games on some days so we have to express ourselves and work with speed. Sometimes you have just one chance in life, and you have to take it when it comes," Palacios said.

He said they had also impressed on the youngsters the importance of giving their all at the tournament as there would be scouts who could give them a chance at clubs overseas.

This tournament has always been dominated by Latin American teams such as Fluminense, Sao Paolo, Club America and Colo Colo.

Some of them are involved again this year while other teams to watch include Ghana's Right to Dream Academy, AS Roma of Italy, Werder Bremen of Germany, Paris Saint Germain of France and Spain's Atletico Madrid.

The other teams represent Australasia and Asia. The tournament kicks off on Tuesday and ends on Saturday.

X