Hashim Amla captained South Africa at the 2002 tournament in New Zealand and despite losing to an Australia side featuring Shaun Marsh, George Bailey Cameron White and Xavier Doherty in the final at Lincoln, the classy right-hander has fond memories of the experience.
Amla scored 53 against Bangladesh early on in the tournament and struck 62 in the semi-final against India to help his side earn the right for a re-match against Australia, who they had suffered defeat to earlier in the tournament.
Although the South Africa side, which also included Stephen Cook, Ryan McLaren, Rory Kleinvledt and Greg Smith, didn't win the trophy, looking back now Amla sees the importance of the competition for his development as a player.
He told ICC: "There are a few players in the South African team who I've managed to play with afterwards and that whole experience was greatly beneficial because you are playing in an international tournament in your age group, so it gives you that international feel.
"You also get a sense of where you are at and where your team is at in relation to every other country – and many times you'll see stars coming out who will later on become household names.
"My experience was very good – I thoroughly enjoyed the whole competition. For a 17, 18 or 19-year-old, it's very enjoyable."
Amla, who is currently ranked as the tenth best Test batsman in the world, has scored 28 centuries in 111 Tests for South Africa since those formative steps in New Zealand.
The ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand gets underway on Saturday 13 January.