THE Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will play host to the Coca- Cola under-18 Craven Week tournament that has produced many Springbok players.
The tournament will, for the first time, feature 20 teams with the inclusion of Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Speaking at the tournament’s media launch at the stadium yesterday, Eastern Province player Mpho Mbiyozo emphasised its importance.
"It is the ultimate achievement for a player to play at this tournament. You test yourself against other unions and the best of your age group. It has been a stepping stone for a lot of players,” he said.
Players who have played in the tournament and went on to play professionally include Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie, Jaque Fourie, Siya Kolisi, Jan Serfontein and Eben Etzebeth.
Organising committee chairman Thando Halam said it was all systems go for the July 9 to 14 tournament. "We believe everything will go according to plan. We are ready,” he said.
The Craven Week made history by becoming one of the first multiracial sporting tournaments in South Africa, opening to all races in 1980.
EP deputy president Phillip Josephs said the teams would arrive on July 8.
Tickets cost R50 for a week pass and R20 for a day pass. Schoolchildren in uniform with a chaperone can enter free.