SA’s next soc­cer stars join Ney­mar Jr tour­ney

SA’s qual­i­fier dates and venues:

CityPress - - Sport -

Young, as­pi­rant South African soc­cer play­ers have been of­fered a golden op­por­tu­nity to show­case their silky skills at the Ney­mar Jr’s Five fi­nals in Brazil in July.

The tour­na­ment is the brain­child of world foot­ball whizz kid Ney­mar Jr of Brazil and Barcelona. South Africa is just one of more than 40 coun­tries that are tak­ing part.

The fi­nal game will be played at the In­sti­tuto Pro­jeto Ney­mar Jr, a build­ing com­plex for sports and ed­u­ca­tional pur­poses that bears the renowned foot­baller’s name in his home town of Praia Grande.

The In­sti­tuto is open to the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity and low-in­come fam­i­lies.

Se­lec­tion started yes­ter­day at Dis­cov­ery Park in Illovo, north of Jo­han­nes­burg, and con­tin­ues to­day at the same venue. It will cul­mi­nate in the Su­per Fi­nal on June 11 (see box for all the events).

Those who qual­ify will then take part in the fi­nals in Brazil.

Teams of five to seven play­ers aged be­tween 16 and May 15 – Dis­cov­ery Park, Illovo May 22 – Dis­cov­ery Park, Illovo May 28 – Ur­ban 5oc­cer, Hat­field June 4 – Dis­cov­ery Park, Illovo June 5 – Dis­cov­ery Park, Illovo June 11 – Su­per fi­nal, Jo­han­nes­burg (venue to be an­nounced) 25 years can reg­is­ter on ney­mar­jrs­five.com.

One of South Africa’s soc­cer stars, Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala, Kaizer Chiefs’ skip­per who scored that mem­o­rable open­ing goal at the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup against Mex­ico, was full of praises for the in­no­va­tive tour­na­ment.

Tsha­bal­ala, who will check out the tal­ent at the fi­nal, said: “Ney­mar is a player I re­spect greatly and I really think that this tour­na­ment and its for­mat will bring out the best in our lo­cal tal­ent. I wish I could have played in a tour­na­ment where you can go on to com­pete against the world when I was younger.”

The main ob­jec­tive of the game is to score as many goals as pos­si­ble within 10 min­utes. Each time a goal is scored, a mem­ber of the team that con­ceded the goal has to leave the field of play.

Speak­ing about his brain­child, Ney­mar Jr, who is part of the Barcelona tri­umvi­rate of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, said: “I played a lot of foot­ball on the streets as a kid. We had com­pe­ti­tions with friends, a small goal and not too many rules.

“So this is why this whole con­cept brings me back to my child­hood.”

The South African se­ries of qual­i­fiers will be held at Ur­ban 5oc­cer in Hat­field, Pre­to­ria.

re­porter – Staff

PHOTO: LUIS VIDALES / RED BULL CON­TENT POOL

ON THE BALL Barcelona Ney­mar Jr en­joys a kick about with some of his friends in

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