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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Sundowns have their eyes fixed on KDB Cup

'We're the first African team to play in this tournament and we are representing South Africa as whole,' said Sundowns youth coach Lunga Nobela.

Mamelodi Sundowns youth coach Lunga Nobela is adamant that they did not make the long trip from South Africa to Belgium just to add numbers at Manchester City superstar Kevin de Bruyne’s prestigious U-15 KDB Cup.

The Young Brazilians touched down in Brussels earlier this week have already had a taste of what to expect after playing to a 1-1 draw against Royal Union of Belgium in a friendly match on Tuesday.

The real test starts on Saturday against their Group A opponents Manchester City in the opening match of the competition before taking on defending champions Barcelona later in the afternoon.

“It’s an important tournament that will be giving the boys and the coaches an opportunity to learn,” Nobela said in an interview with Phakaaathi.

“We’re the first African team to play in this tournament and we are representing South Africa as whole.

“We’re not here just to add numbers. Everyone that goes to a battle goes there expecting to win. We have the same sentiments. We want to win the tournament and also expose the talent we have at Mamelodi Sundowns. The game against Royal Union told us that our boys are able to compete and
the chances of winning it are there.”

A tournament of star-makers

Nobela says the sixth edition of the KDB Cup, which gave rise Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala and the Barcelona’s duo of Ansu Fati and Gavi, can be a stepping stone to bigger things.

“Our boys need to learn that at this age, anything is possible. We’re seeing that in Europe a boy of 16 is already training with the senior team and it shows the dedication from the teams that are here,” he concluded.

“My ambition is to see myself developing players that will play for the national team and developing players that will play in Europe. It would be nice to see Sundowns players going to Europe at an early age. We want trophies yes but the biggest one is to develop players because their success will be that of the club and mine too.”