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The draw for the 2016 Engen Knockout Challenge in Port Elizabeth was conducted on 08 June to determine the four groups that the Eastern Cape’s top under-17 football teams would compete in.

Defending champions Chippa United were drawn in Group B. They will have their hands full competing against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, City Strikers and Addo Development, in what has already been termed the ‘Group of Death’.

Glenville Celtic were drawn in Group A alongside Highland Spurs, Sakhulutsha FC and PE Sundowns. Group C sees Hotspurs, St Georges, Future Stars and Thornhill United go head-to-head, while Group D pits Rangers FC, XI Angels, Riverside and Mabayibone against each other.

Cindy Bunde, Engen CSI Coordinator: Eastern Cape, said: “As always the primary focus is on the talented young players who participate in the tournament. We encourage them all to use the Engen Knockout Challenge as a stepping stone to launch their professional careers. This is where it all starts, and Engen is delighted to be a part of the development of football at grassroots level.”Bunde also encouraged the players to ensure that they succeed on and off the field by working hard at school to ensure their education compliments their football prowess, thereby safe-guarding their future once their playing days are over.

Simphiwe Mkhanyela, the South African Football Association (SAFA) Vice-President for Nelson Mandela Bay, said: “We are proud to endorse this competition as it is the cornerstone of grassroots development amongst our local structures.”

Mkhanyela also acknowledged that tournament’s such as the Engen Knockout Challenge enabled teams and players to test their ability to play at the highest level.

“To the coaches I ask them to treat these players as a father would a son, take care of them and ensure that they stay focused and take advantage of the opportunity afforded them. I would like to wish the participating teams all the best. May the best team win.”

Local football superstar and Engen Knockout Challenge Ambassador for Port Elizabeth, Daine Klate, said he was proud to be part of the event.

“I started my football career on the Glenville Celtic fields and through sheer determination and hard work I succeeded in landing professional contract with Supersport United. I have also played for Orlando Pirates and am now at Bidvest Wits.”

The pacy winger added that while his path to the pinnacle of the game was not easy, it was definitely worth it. He encouraged the players to make the most of the opportunity, to work hard, love the game and to stay focused.

“I want to urge all footballers participating in this tournament to give of their best as it is tournaments such as the Engen Knockout Challenge that provide the platform for you to show the scouts in attendance that you are a star in the making. Your journey starts here,” said Klaite.

Scouts from clubs across South Africa and abroad have been seen at Engen Knockout Challenge tournaments over the past 14 years, all looking to spot the next star player.

The winners of the regional Engen Knockout Challenge events will battle it out in the Engen Champ of Champs later in the year to determine the overall national champions.

The groups for the Engen Knockout Challenge – Port Elizabeth are as follows: –

Group A – Glenville, Highland Spurs, Sakhulutsha FC, PE Sundowns

Group B – Chippa United, NMMU, City Strikers, Addo Development

Group C – Hotspurs, St Georges, Future Stars, Thornhill United

Group D – Rangers FC, XI Angels, Riverside, Mabayibone

The dates for the 2016 Engen Knockout Challenge are as follows:

Port Elizabeth

Dates: – 01 – 03 July

Venue: – Gelvandale Sports Complex

Durban

Dates: – 08 – 10 July

Venue: – Moses Mabhida Stadium Sports Complex

Cape Town

Dates: – 15 – 17 July

Venue: – Parow Park Sports Complex

Bloemfontein

Dates: – 22 – 24 July

Venue: – Grey College Sports Complex

Johannesburg

Dates: – 29 – 31 July

Venue: – Marks Park Sports Complex

Don’t miss out on youth football at its best!

For more information visit: www.engen.co.za

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