Top eight under-15 football teams confirmed to take part in the Manchester United Premier Cup.
The Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) finals will take place at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto. This year, only eight teams from around the country will be competing for the championship cup, and the overall winner will represent SA at the MUPC global finals.
The teams below are scheduled for the finals:
Ajax Cape Town
School of Excellence
Destinyman.com had a chat with Seruscka Naidoo, communications manager for Nike SA regarding the premier cup.
What is the Manchester United Premier cup?
The MUPC is the most prestigious under-15 football tournament in the world, providing young aspiring players the opportunity to compete at the highest level.
How will this create long-term growth in SA in terms of the sport?
Nike has proactively led the way in youth development in SA, through a series of programmes and tournaments geared at enabling young footballers to improve their skills, both on and off the field. The MUPC tournament alone has seen several of the current generation of Bafana Bafana players over the years, including Siboniso Gaza and Thulani Serero. Them participating in the MUPC exposes young players to the highest levels of competition in the under-15 age group, where they are competing against the best players from around the country.
Through these Nike-led programmes, many of our local football stars have been identified, which is proof that the model is successful. It is imperative to ensure that we are committed to youth development, and that we grow the game from this level, as it exposes scouts and coaches to talent. It is important to nurture the talent we have – hence developing programmes to improve their performances.
Scouts and coaches from local structures must take advantage of these initiatives by attending trials and programmes, such as Nike’s ‘the chance football trials’. Nike has unearthed a number of players who could easily be playing for professional teams.
How did the MUPC come about?
MUPC started out as a regional tournament in 1993, and has grown into one of the largest and best-known football events of its kind. In 2003, Manchester United decided to partner with Nike and since then, the tournament has been hosted in the US, Manchester and Hong Kong. Over one million players have taken part, with over 9 000 teams, from more than 43 countries competing in 2011.
How are you hoping to sustain the premier cup in SA?
Teams from around the country are eager to participate in this tournament, and every year the demand to participate increases. Nike has strategically focused on restructuring the tournament, to make it more inclusive. We are doing this by hosting regional play-offs, which is open to the clubs in the main cities. The teams who top their log qualify to participate in the SA finals. Therefore we have the top eight teams in the 2012 SA finals.