Last year’s Junior Section was lit up by a little-known side from Ghana. Right to Dream convincingly defeated Southampton on their way to the title, and whilst their Premier side couldn’t achieve the same glories they did impress fans with their skills and quality. Gareth Henderby, Technical Director at Right to Dream gave his thoughts on last year’s success.
“Last year was a great experience. Although we won the final comfortably, negotiating the tough qualifying process wasn’t easy. The players had to pull on all the resources and everything they learn at Right to Dream to achieve what they did. We believe the Super Cup NI to be one of the best tournaments – the history, the organisation and the challenge of the tournament contributed to us coming back – as well as the defend the Junior section and improve our standing in the Premier Section.”
So who are Right to Dream? The side are based out of a fully residential academy in Ghana, West Africa, with approximately 90 boys and girls in the academy. Gareth explained that it’s not all about football – “Our students try and achieve excellence in football but also education and character development. Over the years we have had many students go on to become professionals in Europe and many more have attended full scholarships to schools and colleges in the USA and England. The students at Right to Dream come from a highly impoverished background. Football can be a catalyst to improve their lives and their families. They all have dreams of becoming footballers, doctors, or lawyers to name a few, and we have dedicated staff helping each student try and achieve this daily through a pursuit of excellence”.
So what should we expect from this year’s crop of Right to Dream talent? Their Premier side will face off against O’Higgins of Chile, Newcastle Utd and local side County Tyrone, with the Juniors taking on GPS Bayern of the USA, County Antrim and North Dublin SL. In Gareth’s eyes, both draws offer a stiff challenge for his team. “It is hard to judge what O’Higgins will be like and we know Newcastle will be a tough game. The local sides are always extremely up for the games and are well organised – so not easy! The Junior section may look easier on paper, but we are experienced enough not to take any team for granted knowing that you usually need 3 wins to progress to the semi-finals. We intend to go far – we are capable, but in tournament football other factors can also influence the outcomes. We will be prepared and ready and will look forward to it, as it was a great experience last year. Both sides have already been in Europe this year, and our Premier squad will participate in the Gothia Cup the week before the Super Cup NI as part of their preparations.”
Everyone at the Super Cup NI looks forward to welcoming the players and staff from Right to Dream in July.
Written by Graeme McClure
Monday 25th July
Right to Dream Juniors v GPS FC Bayern – 3.30pm, Coleraine Showgrounds
Right to Dream Premiers v O’Higgins – 7.30pm, Riada Stadium, Ballymoney
Tuesday 26th July
Right to Dream Juniors v County Antrim – 5.00pm, Ballymena Showgrounds
Right to Dream Premiers v Newcastle Utd – 7.00pm, Scroggy Road, Limavady
Wednesday 27th July
Right to Dream Juniors v North Dublin SL – 1.30pm, Broughshane
Right to Dream Premiers v County Fermanagh – 5.00pm, Broughshane