Flamengo are hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Santos, who were the inaugural Durban U19 International Football Tournament winners in 2014, when this year’s competition is staged from 27 July to 5 August 2017.
One of the rarest gems in world football right now is 16-year-old Vinicius Junior, who has been refined through the Flamengo Academy and is tipped to go on and become one of the game’s greats having been described as the “next Neymar”.
His rich potential has already been spotted by Spanish giants Real Madrid, who have forked out a reported £35-million (approximately R600-million) to sign him, though he will only move to Spain after his 18th birthday.
He was spotted by Flamengo while playing in the streets of his hometown, Sao Goncalo, and has been signed to the academy since the age of 10.
Like all their young stars, the club nurtured him in football and education, and he has now been rewarded with a magical move to Madrid. He will have been a teammate of many Flamengo players who will feature in Durban this year, and is living proof that skill, talent and determination can make dreams come true.
There will be other players of a similar ilk to Vinicius Junior on show at the tournament, not just within Flamengo, but all the sides on display.
In 2014, Benfica had young Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches in their squad that lost to Santos in the Durban finale.
He has since gone on to be a European champion with Portugal last year, and claimed a German Bundesliga winners’ medal with new club Bayern Munich..