Senegalese club Etoile Lusitana, who took the Milk Cup by storm last year, are returning to defend their Premier title.
Pink power proved prolific as the West Africans swept to a memorable success at the international youth tournament with their exciting brand of attacking football, made all the more outstanding as the happy-go-lucky newcomers played in a bright pink outfit.
Coach Luis Norton de Matos says last year’s success has had a huge impact on the academy which is based in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
“We are very proud and happy to be returning this year,” says Portuguese-born Luis who guided his team to a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers in the final.
“The players enjoyed the event and those who are eligible were eager to return.
“We were all made to feel so welcome and visiting Northern Ireland has made a lasting impression.”
His players were in huge demand after last year’s success in Northern Ireland. Indeed, several rejected overtures from clubs in the Premier League in England and German Bundesliga to sign for Bragga in Portugal.
Luis Norton says he has been busy building a new team and their first major test will come in Italy at the Tournament Borgaro in April.
Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard says: “Many of last year’s Etoile Lusitana squad have attracted attention across Europe after being spotted by scouts at the event. We are pleased that the tournament’s reputation for parading stars of the future is as strong as ever.”