SA’s next soccer stars join Neymar Jr tourney
SA’s qualifier dates and venues:
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
ON THE BALL Barcelona Neymar Jr enjoys a kick about with some of his friends in