The draw for the annual under-17 football tournament, which provides a platform for the stars of tomorrow and also plays a crucial role in developing aspiring coaches, will take place on 1 July at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“Now in its twelfth year, the Engen Knockout Challenge has developed into one the country’s premier youth football programmes, providing a valuable platform for young footballers to showcase their talent and we are proud of our contribution in developing the stars of tomorrow. I encourage all the youngsters who will be taking part to live their dreams," says Brad Bergh, Engen Group Sponsorship Manager.
“Everything is running smoothly. We are excited to discover and meet up with new talent at this year’s event,” says Dintwa.
In a change from last year, the 2015 Engen Knockout Challenge will be played on the Moses Mabhida outer fields, and not in Wentworth.
“We have moved the tournament to Moses Mabhida as we believe this will get more fans to attend. Apart from that, we also hope that this will be a motivating factor for the youngsters,” adds Dintwa.
While all 16 participating teams will be officially announced during the draw on 1 July, Dintwa confirms that Pietermaritzburg-based Celtic United, a club with a rich heritage, will play.
“We have invited Celtic United as they are a strong club steeped in history and will bring a lot of competition into this tournament. We are in the process of finalising some of the other teams and these will be announced shortly.”
In previous years, players who impressed at the Durban Engen Knockout Challenge caught the eyes of talent scouts and have gone on to greater heights.
“AmaZulu won the 2014 Engen Knockout Challenge, beating Greenwood Park Friends 1-0 in the final, and a number of those players from that winning team formed part of AmaZulu’s reserve side last season,” says Dintwa.
“This tournament has been fruitful to the lives of these kids, I mean you look at a young boy like Sibusiso Magaqa who has been part of AmaZulu’s development, but impressed so much at this tournament that Coach Steve Baker is now keeping a close eye on him.”
Last year’s leading goal scorer and player of the tournament was Dylan Stoffels. Stoffels has been in impressive form recently for AmaZulu’s under-19 side and is now managed by a professional sporting agency.