South African talent Aphiwe Buthelezi, who is on the books of AmaZulu, was named Player of the Tournament at the FC Bayern Youth Cup, earning a place in the 2024 FC Bayern World Squad.
The South African representatives, who were selected from a 10-team tournament in Durban, vowed many at the 10th edition of the FC Bayern Youth Cup, which took place in Munich over the past few days.
The lost in the final to defending champions Nigeria, but Buthelezi impressed so much throughout the tournament that he will now be invited to the FC Bayern World Squad.
“Congratulations also to Buthelezi Aphiwe! The South African was crowned the best player of the tournament and has thus qualified for the 2024 FC Bayern World Squad,” the German giants stated.
On Monday, AmaZulu confirmed that Buthelezi plays for the club’s U17.
“Aphiwe is part of our youth setup and represents our U17s. Everybody at our football club is very proud and we wish him all the best going forward,” the club stated on social media.
The 80 youngsters in the finals tournament came through local selection tournaments with over 5,000 candidates. The qualification rounds ranged from one-day events to selection tournaments over multiple months.
In the end, young players from the following countries prevailed:
- Argentina | Government of the Province of Misiones
- Germany | Partner: Buntkicktgut (NGO/foundation)
- India | Partner: BigHit (Sports app)
- Mexico | Partner: Curveball (Sports event agency)
- Nigeria (2022 defending champions) | Partner: VOE Foundation
- Rwanda | Partner: Visit Rwanda
- South Africa | Partner: 83 Sports (Sports Agency)
Bayern legends Klaus Augenthaler and Hans Pflügler were involved in the selection process and coached the teams in Munich.
Like last year, the focus besides the sporting aspect is on intercultural exchange. Among other things, the players will discuss the FCB initiative ‘Red against Racism’ within their teams and together make a visible stance for diversity, tolerance and open-mindedness with sleeve badges displaying ‘Red against Racism’.
What is the FC Bayern World Squad?
The FC Bayern World Squad is an international project where Germany’s most successful club and its partner Volkswagen select U19s players from across the world and accompany them as they chase their dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Former Bayern striker Roy Makaay will this year join the coaching staff of World Cup winner Klaus Augenthaler and Christopher Loch as they work with the young players. The team will also hold a training camp abroad as they prepare to face Bayern’s U19s in the summer.
Two players have already demonstrated what a huge platform the project offers. José Mulato from Colombia and Daniel Francis from Nigeria both caught the eye in recent years to earn professional contracts. Six of the 23 players selected last year have since made their senior debut for their clubs.
The teenagers’ entire journey from the selection process to training and the game against Bayern’s U19s in Munich will be documented in a multi-part series, which is shown in autumn each year on Bayern’s YouTube channel and club website, as well as selected international media as part of a sports documentary. You can see last year’s season here.