In December 2022, Volkswagen hosted the inaugural VW Vaya Cup tournament (formerly known as the Junior Masters), which provides an opportunity for young soccer players to display their talent in a highly competitive tournament.
The tournament attracted 24 teams, with the girls' team from Bidvest McCarthy VW Constantia and the boys' team from Lindsay Saker Midrand prevailing as champions.
As part of their winning prize, both teams attended a bespoke international training camp at world-renowned FC Porto in Portugal, where they received invaluable training and international exposure. The experience also provided players and coaches with the opportunity to gain insight into FC Porto's training methods and experience a professional Portuguese football culture.
"Volkswagen is proud to provide a platform for young soccer players to showcase their talent and receive training through the VW Vaya Cup tournament. We are delighted that the winning teams were able to take advantage of the unique international training opportunity at FC Porto, which has undoubtedly enhanced their skills and experience even further," said Steffen Knapp, Head of the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand.
Prior to their arrival in Portugal, players of the winning teams were assessed through video footage, giving FC Porto coaches insight into areas where the teams and individual players required improvements. Training sessions were then developed based on these assessments in the build-up to the teams' first games.
The boys played Dragon Force Braga, where they lost 2-1, while the girls played CD Feirense, where they also lost 2-1. The games provided the coaches with a further opportunity to assess the teams' strengths and weaknesses and develop sessions to improve key areas of their game. The final game saw the boys play the Dragon Force team, which they won 4-1, and the girls played Valadares da Gaia, whom they beat 4-1.
"The players have a very high technical standard. With the right coaching, there is a good chance of some of these players turning professional," said Portuguese footballer Hugo Machado.
In addition to the training sessions and games, players also had the chance to watch a live FC Porto match where they took on Santa Clara. To close off the unique experience, the team visited the FC Porto Museum and had the chance to interact with some of football's most prestigious trophies, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa Cup and the European Super Cup.
The VW Vaya Cup tournament forms part of Volkswagen's commitment to 'Drive People Forward' by providing a platform for young soccer players to showcase their talent and be further upskilled on and off the field. The tournament is a significant milestone in the development of South Africa's future soccer stars, and the international training camp at FC Porto is another step forward in their careers," concluded Knapp.