On the first weekend of September 2017, African Bank together with the University of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South African Football Association and the Department of Basic Education will be hosting the African Bank U18 football challenge. Happening at Bunting Road campus, a total of thirty two teams will be playing on all six soccer fields for the honor to be crowned the winners of this year’s challenge.
This is how it is all going to happen. On Friday September 1st around 15h00 the tournament will officially begin and the first games will commence. The thirty two teams have been divided into sixteen teams of both girls and boys. Besides the Northern Johannesburg region which will be bringing a team of two teams each (total of four teams), each region will be sending a team in both categories to represent them.
On Friday August 25th an official draw occurred during which the teams were randomly grouped. Each team will have a chance to play against all the members of their respective groups. The top two teams from each group will go on to the quarter finals. Then the semi-finals and then the finals. The semi-final and final games are expected to happen on the last day of the challenge, Sunday September 3rd.
While most of the games will be playing simultaneously, the final games will not. The purpose of this games is to promote and to encourage development through competition. Also this games are a platform for SAFA to recruit junior national soccer players and for UJ to recruit soccer players as well. Besides the charming trophy that the winning team will be taking away, there will be individual awards to outstanding players. The goalkeeper of the tournament will receive R5000 towards their studies at UJ should they decide to join the university once they matriculate. The player of the tournament, both from the girls and boys categories, will get some form of funding from UJ should they decide to join the university too. As for the school that hails the winning teams, they stand to win R15 000.
From Friday September 1st until Sunday September 3rd, UJ Bunting road campus will be filled with the roaring spirit of young fighters trying to leave their mark and pave a way in the soccer industry. Let’s go out to support. Who knows, the next UJ soccer star may be on that field.