Lessons and positivity abound for Young Brazilians at KDB Cup

Mamelodi Sundowns Under-15s made an indelible mark in this year’s edition of the Kevin De Bruyne Cup after two awe-inspiring days of highly competitive youth football.

As the first African team to participate in the renowned tournament, the young Brazilians fought gallantly, securing an impressive 8th-place finish ahead of esteemed teams like RB Leipzig, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

Coach Simon Blangwe’s boys also delivered one of the most stunning moments of the tournament when they scored twice in two minutes, securing a remarkable 2-0 victory over the pre-tournament favorites, Manchester City. That result was enough to send the team to the quarterfinals of the competition.

Despite bowing out of the competition in the last-eight at the hands of Brazilian side Palmeiras, Coach Lunga Nobela expressed his satisfaction with the overall experience gained by his team.

“To be honest, our boys performed exceptionally well. The opportunities we gained during the tournament showcased that, from a technical and tactical perspective, we are not far off. These games served as valuable gauges for our team, highlighting areas where we can improve. Finishing in a respectable eighth position among the 12 teams demonstrates the tremendous growth we have achieved. Our team will return to South Africa with a renewed perspective on the game and a determination to continue progressing. The experience gained at the competition has provided us with invaluable lessons and insights that will shape the future of these boys as well as the coaches,” Coach Nobela stated.

When asked about his favorite moment at the competition, Goalkeeper coach Tshepo Makgata singled out the stunning last-gasp victory over the young Citizens.

“Our fondest moment undoubtedly came when we scored our second goal against Man City. The jubilation on the pitch was truly a sight to behold, with supporters rushing onto the field in pure excitement. Looking ahead, our focus is on the growth and development of these boys. We want them to take away valuable lessons from their encounters with teams like Barcelona and Palmeiras. These teams exemplify discipline both on and off the pitch, and there is much our young players can learn from them. This experience has opened their eyes to the level of dedication and professionalism required to excel in the sport,” said Coach Tshepo.

Coach Blangwe acknowledged that Mamelodi Sundowns gained additional supporters following the inspirational performances of the young Brazilians.

“We are immensely grateful for the vocal presence of numerous supporters at our games, who passionately stood behind us every step of the way. As a result, we have gained a significant number of fans through various social media platforms, expanding our reach and influence even further. Wherever our journey takes us, our unwavering vision at Mamelodi Sundowns remains unchanged – to represent the brand with unwavering pride and determination. It brings me great joy to witness the growing support and recognition we have garnered along the way,” said Coach Simon.

Despite their loss to Palmeiras in the quarterfinals, the young Masandawana fought back impressively to secure a 1-1 draw against KAA Gent. However, luck was not on their side as they narrowly lost out in the penalty shootout. Overall, defending champions Barcelona emerged triumphant, defeating PSG 3-1 in a thrilling final to secure their third title. Palmeiras finished third overall.

As the young Brazilians return to South Africa, with their heads held high, they carry with them cherished memories, unique experiences and a newfound determination to continue their footballing journey. The Kevin De Bruyne Cup has not only provided them with a platform to showcase their skills but has also opened doors to further growth and development.