Swans Under-19s benefit hugely from South Africa experience
Coaches Eric Ramsay and Chris Llewellyn hailed Swansea City Under-19s’ trip to South Africa as a successful learning experience towards the young players' development.
The squad arrive back in the UK today (Wednesday) after a nine-day visit to Cape Town where an academy side took part in the Metropolitan Premier Cup for a second successive season.
The Swans – who included seven U16s players in the squad - went a stage further this year, reaching the quarter-finals of the competition before getting knocked out against eventual winners SuperSport United.
Despite the exit, Ramsay expressed his delight with the side's performance against some of Africa’s top footballers.
“It was a great experience for our young squad,” he said. “Playing in South Africa has been a completely different test to the football we play at home, so it has been a good challenge.
“We went to the tournament with a very young side so we knew it was always going to be a test against older more physical players who play a different style of football.
“We were disappointed to get knocked out at the quarter-final but it has been a great learning experience for our young team.
“This tournament has been a perfect platform to help prepare our U18 squad for next season.
“Both Chris and I are extremely pleased we have had the opportunity to experience this level of football because it will only help develop our players."
The U19s finished second in group G before they saw off local side Avendale Athletico 4-0.
Swansea played five games in four days before being eliminated against Pretorian side SuperSport United.
Despite the disappointment of the 4-2 defeat on Sunday, the travelling party also managed to enjoy some of the sights Cape Town has to offer with a group visit to Table Mountain, Camps Bay and the Waterfront.
And Llewellyn believes the whole experience has helped gel the team as the squad prepare to finish their season in the Premier League Group 3 play-offs.
“As a team we have really embraced going to South Africa to play in a tournament like that,” he said. “The football has been a real test but it was great for our young players to experience the atmosphere of playing in front of a good crowd.
“The style of football and physicality they faced was a good experience and learning curve for them that will only help develop them."