All set for Cape Town football tourney
24 May 2012
An eight-nation international under-20 football tournament, hosted by the South African Football Association (Safa) Western Cape, kicks off in Cape Town on Friday, with South Africa facing Argentina and Ghana playing Nigeria.
The competition runs from 25 May to 3 June, with matches taking place at the Cape Town and Athlone stadiums.
There are two groups: Group A consists of South Africa, Argentina, Nigeria and Ghana, while Group B includes Brazil, Cameroon, Kenya and Japan.
"This event is continuing the legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and in this vein Safa is maintaining its contribution to Africa's ascendancy in world football," Norman Arendse, Safa Cape Town President, said in a statement.
"Initially, our vision was to ensure the presence of at least one country from each of Fifa's six Confederations at this year's showpiece, but it's more likely that we'll realise that ideal next time when we’re likely to pass the eight-team mark.
"The Cape Town International under-20 Challenge event will take on a Fifa Confederations Cup flavour as all the teams will be using the tournament to prepare for the 2013 Fifa under-20 World Cup in Turkey."
Arendse says it was not easy though to get all the teams to the tournament, but said the work done had borne fruit. "Safa Cape Town was entirely dependent on its mother body to work the contacts with the federations around the world," he explained.
"Safa elicited such an overwhelming response that they also chalked up a few countries who want to be part of the 2014 tournament, after some of them failed to make the cut this time out.
"We are also indebted to the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape for their generous support. Their role in this joint initiative is in itself a statement of their support for the beautiful game.
"They've demonstrated their commitment, and as football administrators we know we can confidently lean on our 'Big Brother' whenever we called on to host an event," he concluded.
South African squad
A 25-player South african squad has been named for the event. Coach Solly Luvhengo, speaking at training ahead of the competition said: "The team is slowly gelling well and I have seen they have the hunger, commitment and determination to do well in this tournament.
"We don't want to put them under pressure, but, as hosts, I believe we need to come out with a medal in the end.
"This is a very important tournament and we need to give a very good showing because we are the hosts. It's been a long time since we last played a match, but I believe my players will have enough in their reserves not to disappoint.
"The first match is very crucial as it is the one that will give us direction and help us settle. A win will give us the confidence to tackle the entire tournament."
Five-time World Cup winners
South Africa's first match against Argentina is sure to be a tough test; the Argentinians have won the biannual under-20 World Cup five times since 1995.
Among the other teams, Brazil are the reigning under-20 World Cup champions and are also five-time winners of the event. Ghana won the title in 2009, while Nigeria has twice lost in the final and Japan was a beaten finalist in 1999.
25 May, Athlone Stadium
26 May, Cape Town Stadium
27 May, Cape Town Stadium
28 May, Athlone Stadium
29 May, Cape Town Stadium
30 May, Athlone Stadium
1 June, Athlone Stadium
3 June, Cape Town Stadium
3rd Place Play-off
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material