Southampton’s Under-16s have won the 2023 U16 Mina Cup, an international youth tournament based in Dubai.
The young squad, which was filled with a majority of Under-15s players, won the tournament in style scoring 21 goals and conceding just once across the five matches they played.
Saints kicked off the group stages with a dominant 5-0 win over Lee Man FC, a side from Hong Kong, before coming from behind to draw 1-1 with reigning champions Fursan Hispania, one of the local Dubai teams at the tournament.
The first stage of action concluded with a fantastic 8-0 triumph over another local Dubai outfit, Go Pro Sports, as Saints won their group.
In the semi-finals, Saints dispatched Manchester City’s Dubai-based academy, City Football Schools, with a 5-0 win to set up a rematch in the final with Fursan Hispania.
Saints ran out 2-0 winners to take home the trophy and return to England as Mina Cup champions.
Assistant Academy Director, Tash Patel, spoke with pride after the tournament at how the experience will benefit Saints’ potential next generation of stars.
“This is a fantastic achievement for the boys, especially as we took a very young group.
“Everything about the tournament was giving them a different test than what they get back home; experiencing the physicality of older opponents, playing knockout football in front of bigger, louder crowds, and playing in a foreign country against teams from all over the world.
“They’ve also had a taste of what it takes to be a professional footballer in a tournament environment as they went through the travelling, recovery management, team briefings and meals, as well as their own player-led video sessions.
“We’re very proud of how they came together as a group to win the tournament, and hopefully this will stand them in good stead on and off the pitch to help accelerate their development as individuals and as a group.”