THE 8-Nation International Tournament reaches the business end of the competition with the semi-finals and final scheduled for this weekend in Cape Town.
The semi-finals take place at the Athlone Stadium tomorrow with the first match kicking off at 6pm where Argentina faces Japan.
The second game is between Brazil and host nation South Africa, who finished second behind Argentina in Group A after beating Ghana and Nigeria.
The final is scheduled for Cape Town Stadium on Sunday at 4.30pm, with the third place play-off starting at 2pm.
The four semi-final coaches all had words of praise for the high level of competition, the valuable experience their players gained, as well as the good organization of the tournament.
Together with their respective captains, the coaches were in attendance at the press conference ahead of Friday’s showdowns.
South Africa coach Solly Luvhengo
“We have had some tough games and we are very happy to have made it through the group. We played Argentina and we lost 3-1 in the first match, but I think Brazil’s style is different. Brazil insists on playing their own style and they never compromise it.
“They are very strong, both in attack and defence. We have to come to the party, this is a massive experience for the kids – you never get this kind of competition, playing all the teams of this calibre in one week.
“Now we are the only African team left in the tournament. I would love to go through to the final, and maybe meet Japan, because we have already played against Argentina, now we are playing against Brazil, I would like to play everybody!”
Brazil coach Ney Franco
“This tournament is helping us build our youth team for the Under-20 World Cup. We are very happy to be amongst the last four, but our objective is to get to the final. The teams that are there deserve it.
“Now we playing South Africa and we remember that two years ago we lost to them. What I have observed is that the African teams are playing a similar style in terms of their position on the field.
“They have strikers that play like wings and we need to have our attention on their strong wing play. They have good possession and we have to work hard to neutralise this.”
Japan coach Yasushi Yoshida
“Every one of the teams we have played was tough, so we are fortunate to still be in the tournament. The level of competition has been a great experience for my players.
“The four teams left are even stronger than the others and I hope that my young players utilise all their powers to ensure our best play so we can get victory.”
Argentina coach Marcelo Trobbiani
“The teams left are very even, it’s good to see South Africa qualifying after losing their first game – they have done very well. There are different styles of play and it will be a very good semi-final.
“The Japanese are very gifted technically. They play very good football and are very quick – they have a superior way of playing and a good idea of what they want to accomplish. They know how to play with the ball and how to attack.”