Abuja - Saki West, Nigeria’s representatives at the ongoing 2014 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament in South Africa have borne the brunt of arriving late for the tournament.
The Oyo-based side has subsequently started the prominent tournament, one of the biggest junior football events globally, on the back foot after they lost the match on a technicality to Qatar side Aspire Academy.
The Group C game was subsequently awarded 3-0 to Aspire Academy as a forfeit after travel delays meant that the Nigerian did not arrive in time to fulfill their fixture.
“Saki had travel delays and have not yet arrived in the country. They are due to land tomorrow (Tuesday) for their other games,” Yana Ivanova, publicist of the organisers, said on Monday evening.
The gravel mishaps leaves Saki West at the bottom of the log after Mexican side, Club Tijuana, made a positive start to the defense of their title with a 2-1 victory over Sunward Park, the only schools team in this year’s competition.
Juan Rodriguez and Brandon Vazquez netted for the Mexicans, with Levy Berry scoring for Sunward Park.
Subsequently, Tijuana, with three points earned without raising a sweat, are top of the log with a healthy goal difference while Tijuana are breathing down their necks on second with the same nuber of points.
Meanwhile, the 2014 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament got off to an action-packed start on Monday with seven matches of the highest quality and an appearance by the English Premiership trophy at the Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
Brazilian side Clube Atletico Mineiro, winners in 2011 and 2012, got their campaign off to a thrilling start with the biggest victory of the day when they defeated local side Supersport Tottenham Hotspur Academy 5-2, while defending champions Club Tijuana were 2-1 winners over schools side Sunward Park.
One of the highlights of the first day was a glittering opening ceremony that included the parading of the English Premiership trophy, one of the great prizes in world football, and a colourful display from all teams bar Saki West.
Football legends Mark Fish and Lucas Radebe, both stalwarts of the local national team and players who featured in the English Premiership, wowed the fans as they showcased the trophy for the rapturous crowd.
The action got under way with a win for Congolese academy side, CESD La Djiri, in their Group A clash against Jomo Cosmos from South Africa, with Lionel Ondongo Opera scoring the only goal of the game.
The other match in Group A between 2010 winners Shandong Luneng, from China and Canada’s Toronto FC finished 1-1. Li Liu netted for the Asian team while Kevin Timachy was on target for the North Americans.
Atletico Mineiro thumped local side SuperSport Tottenham Hotspur Academy 5-2, with Adson, Cesar, Keven, Flavino and Joao Victor on target for the Brazilians.
The young Supersport players did not go down without a fight though and netted through Mthokozisi Mngadi and Thabelo Mulaudzi.
The other Group B fixture saw K-Stars of Zambia draw 1-1 with Dutch visitors ADO Den Haag as the exciting Patson Daka netted for the African team. Dennis van der Heijden was on target for the Netherlands club.
– CAJ News
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