You can’t mention the big role players in youth development in South Africa without the name Augusto Palacios.
‘Njenje’, as he’s affectionately known, has been around the block in SA football, especially nurturing the youth who have gone on to play at the highest level, including Lebogang ‘Cheeseboy’ Mokoena and the late Gift Leremi.
It therefore comes as no surprise at all then that Palacios’ academy is competing at this year’s month-long Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge at Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto.
Palacios’s U17 boys won 2-1 against Orlando Preston Brothers FC earlier in the day.
There’s a bigger picture, however. While the objective will always be to compete to win, Palacios knows all too well that scouting for players for his academy is a big opportunity for him at a tournament of this magnitude.
“Firstly, it’s a good opportunity for my boys to compete in the Discovery tournament, because the league sometimes doesn’t give you too much (competition). With Discovery, it’s tough,” said Palacios following his team’s narrow win.
Born in Peru, South America, Palacios arrived in country in 1984 to play for Witbank Aces, but the 35 years he’s spent in SA have been dominated by his involvement in youth football working at Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates.
Despite closing in on 70 years, Palacios remains very active in the game and most importantly, ensures his boys can compete and pave a way for their future in the game.
It all starts at the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge and Palacios is happy to feature his team in the tournament, where his academy graduates such as Lyle Foster, who’s now in the books of French side AS Monaco and on loan at Cercle Brugge of Belgium, emerged.
“The aim should be to showcase your talent and when the opportunity comes to go to the PSL (Premier Soccer League) or overseas clubs, take it,” Palacios continued.
“You must not think about the prize money, but that there are scouts that are looking at you ” he added.
Meanwhile, Sabelo Super Stars were one of the teams to watch on Day Three of the tournament on Tuesday.
SSS duo Itumeleng Mogotsi and Thato ‘Junior’ Theledi were too hot to handle for Mofolo City FC, who were left chasing the shadows for the better part of the match.
SSS cruised to a 9-0 win and speaking after their emphatic win, captain Mogotsi warned that the opposition should expect more of the same.
“I think it was a good performance, but we can still do better! We can’t go back to last year’s tournament where we were affected by goal difference,” said Mogotsi.
“Once the tournament starts, you need to reflect back to the previous tournament and work from there. We should have scored more goals,” he said.
Theledi shared Mogotsi’s sentiments. “They know who we are and we don’t know who they are! We come here with a pedigree and we must maintain it,” he added.
To stay updated on the tournament, follow Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge 2019 on Facebook and use the hashtag #DWSSC19 across platforms to follow all the action.
Gates will open at 9am daily and entry is free.
DAY 3 RESULTS
(Tuesday, December 03)
Augustos Palacios A. Academy 2 vs. 1 Orlando Preston Brothers
Arsenal F.C 1 vs. 0 Sentro de Futbal
Emndeni Youth Football Development 1 vs. 1 TNG Academy
Lakeside Future Stars FC 0 vs. 3 Protea F.C
Sabelo Super Stars 9 vs. 0 Mofolo City FC
Villa Marseille F.C 1 vs. 1 Meadowlands All Stars
Pimville West Ham F.C 0 vs 2. Strokes F.C
Trabzonspor F.C 2 vs. 1 Killarney Motswako F.C
Premier Impala F.C 1 vs. 0 Dzakaroski F.C
Super Spurs F.C 0 vs. 2 F.C Porto
Diepkloof Citizen F.C 4 vs. 1 Zola Real Glascow F.C
Inqaba F.C 2 vs. 2 Major 1 Academy of Sports
DAY 4 FIXTURES
(Wednesday, December 04)
Kibler Park United F.C vs. FC SK 1804 Under 17 (09:00)
Pimville United F.C vs. La Masia Under 17 (09:00)
KVK F.C vs. Movers F.C Under 17 (10:00)
Marox FC vs. Roodepoort Ramblers F.C Under 17 (10:00)
Catalonia F.C vs. Vilakazi F.C (11:00)
White City Spurs F.C vs. OPS Shining Stars (11:00)
High Care F.C vs. Dlamini X1 Experience FC (12:30)
BH Stars F.C vs. Galacticos F.C (12:30)
Look Land F.C vs. Calcio F.C (14:00)
Double Classic F.C vs. Transition Football (14:00)
Martimo F.C vs. Movers F.C (15:30)
Ma-London F.C vs. Senoane Gunners F.C (15:30)
La-Masia F.C vs. CM Academy F.C (17:00)