Kaizer Chiefs’ Under-17s finished in sixth position in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament that completed last weekend.
“We learnt a lot,” reflects Amakhosi’s Under-17s coach Ace Khuse, “especially as we didn’t participate in this international tournament for the last three years.”
The coach points out how his players seemed a bit overawed when facing international teams like Belgian’s Club Brugge, Russia’s Spartak Moscow and Mexico’s Club Tuijana.
“These international sides were physically very strong,” says Khuse, “but Highlands Park also had physically strong players, but our players were fine against them.
“It was a bit weird,” the coach admitted. “So, it probably had to with other factors – maybe with mental strength. It’s all part of a learning curve though. The boys gained a lot of experience by participating in this tournament.”
“It was a learning experience for me too,” Khuse adds. “I probably didn’t field the right team to deal with the opponent’s mental and physical strength in our first game against Club Brugge.”
The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament took place last week at the Nike Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
There were also some highlights, with some Chiefs youngsters doing very well throughout the tournament.
Mthokozisi Balakasi became the top goalscorer of the tournament, netting five times.
“Balakasi wasn’t even at his best,” Khuse comments with a smile on his face, “even though he scored goals and that’s what strikers should do.
“Others who performed excellently were goalkeeper Bontle Molefe and the defenders, Aden McCarthy and Jordan Sampson.
“Towards the end of the tournament, I even looked ahead. Using six or seven players who will still be able to participate next year, just to give him that a taste of it.”
Khuse indicates that he’s already looking forward to next year’s international tournament. “Some players will move up to the Under-19 side, while others will join us from the Under-15s. We will start preparing for the 2020 edition, as we want to improve on this year’s performance.
“Overall, I am happy with what we have achieved. The Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament provides our youngsters with a great learning curve.”