The finest under-15 local football teams in the country will gather at Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto on Friday, June 7 for the official draw and kick-off of the highly anticipated Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) 2013 South Africa Finals.
Nike and its host partner, the Soweto Local Football Association, will conduct this year’s highly anticipated draw, marking the 20th anniversary of the most competitive and prestigious under-15 football tournament in the world.
Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United will automatically be invited to this year’s tournament as a result of finishing first and second respectively in the 2012 local finals.
Six teams have qualified to compete in the MUPC after topping their regional logs following the regional play-offs earlier this year. Qualifying teams include: Diambars Football Academy (Johannesburg), Rosina Sedibane Sports School (Johannesburg), SAFA Transnet School of Excellence (Johannesburg), Izichwe FC (Kwa-Zulu Natal), Lucky Stars (Cape Town), while an invitation was extended to Mamelodi Sundowns.
This year's winning team will represent South Africa, joining 19 of the best international teams, at the MUPC World Finals to be staged in Manchester, United Kingdom, from 6th to 9th August 2013.
Last year Ajax Cape Town represented South Africa at the MUPC Global Finals in Shanghai.
“The MUPC is the only tournament of its kind to afford under-15 footballers the opportunity to compete at the ultimate level in professional football, and with this year marking the 20th anniversary of The MUPC, this year’s tournament is set to be extra special for all players and teams involved. Offering players the chance to demonstrate individual talent and teamwork, the MUPC has seen many football greats at the start of their careers including South Africa’s Thulani Serero, Siboniso Gaxa, Sphele Bhengu, Cyril Mashego, Thulani Ngcepe, as well as international stars, Theo Walcott and Andres Iniesta", said Seruscka Naidoo, Nike Communications Manager for South Africa.
The MUPC tournament is yet another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to development in football, providing real opportunities for youngsters at the highest level.
The group matches will kick off on Friday, June 7 at 3pm. The knock-out matches and semi-finals are scheduled to start from 9am on Sunday, June 9.