Young Brazilians Put Up Brave Show In Japan To Score 19 Goals20/Sep/2016 12:26
Mamelodi Sundowns U-17 boys started their campaign in an international 10-team International Challenge Cup tournament in Osaka, Japan at the weekend and took the tournament by storm, racing to victory in all their games on Saturday and Sunday before succumbing to fatigue and jet-lag to lose two games on Monday to end up runners-up in the tournament staged by the Japan Professional Football League (J-League).
The boys had netted 19 goals, with Notha Ngcobo netting eight goals, followed by Sphamandla Ntuli with four, Cassius Mailula three, Pitso Tlotlego two and Musa Mdluli and Thapelo Mokomela one each – all of which bodes well for the Sundowns Academy development programme. Participants in the tournament were clubs that had won regional U-17 tournaments in Japan and other Asian countries. Sundowns opened their account on Saturday morning after arriving the day before, and disposed of Foolad FC, who they beat 1 – 0 with a goal from the penalty spot by Notha Ngcobo.
Having limbered up and being a little loose in the legs, the Young Brazillians ran riot against Tokyo FC when Sphamandla Ntuli and Notha Ngcobo each ran in two goals while Cassius Mailula and Thapelo Mokomela scored the rest to win 6 – 1. In the next game, Sundowns were stretched by Fukuwoka, but managed a 1 – 0 win thanks to a goal from Pitso Tlotlego before beating Osaka 2 – 1 with goals from Notha Ngcobo and Cassius Mailula. Ngcobo once more ran riot when he blasted in a brace, with Musa Mdluli, and Sphamandla Ntuli and Toltlego each contributing to beat Kyoto 5 – 1. But even at that point, it was clear that fatigue was beginning to set in, as did jet lag from the seven-hour time difference between their host country and South Africa. And while Godfrey Sapula’s boys managed to beat Tochigi 4 – 0 – with Ngcobo once more getting a brace and Mailula and Ntuli netting the other two goals, the Tshwane side had shot their bolt and Mtsumoto beat them 1- 0, and Ulsan disposed of them 2 – 0 in the final games on Monday.
Ulsan ran out winners, having won all eight of their games, while Sundowns managed to get the runner-up spot. The intensity of the tournament was a great learning experience for the young boys, and they will go on a sight-seeing tour on Tuesday before returning home – with their heads held high.