COPA COCA-COLA KICKS OFF
ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR 2013 COPA COCA-COLA TOURNAMENT
Nairobi, Saturday 27 April, 2013….. The 2013 edition of Africa’s premier youth football tournament, COPA Coca-Cola, has officially been launched today at the City Stadium.
The tournament which transitions from U-17s to U-15s will see teens set their sights on becoming Africa’s next generation of football heroes as it kicks off in more than 20 African countries.
“The move to U-15 is aimed at harnessing and exposing talent from an earlier age thus giving players the opportunity to be picked up by local football academies and clubs,“ said Rocky Findley, Coca-Cola Kenya Country Manager. “Furthermore, it will allow our COPA kids to gain skills and experience from an earlier age creating better, more rounded players,” he added.
The tournament is being activated in partnership with Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
Like seasons gone past, this year’s tournament will be open to school and community teams with each FKF branch presenting six boys and four girls’ teams to take part in the games.
“The teams will compete in the branch league where they will play one-legged round robin matches. The top two teams will advance to the inter-branch league for yet another round robin matchup, and winners from this level will advance to the national finals,” said Gerald Chege, COPA Coca-Cola coordinator and Michezo Ichezwe Africa Director.
Unlike last year where outstanding individual players were scouted from each level, teams will progress as a cohesive unit in this year’s edition. “The best teams will play all through the tournament to the international camp. We want to keep that sense of cohesiveness to ensure our team will be a force to reckon with when the tournament progresses to the international stages,” added Gerald.
“Prizes up for grabs at the finals include first place prizes for both the boys and girls teams of Ksh. 500,000 each, second place prizes Ksh. 200,000 each and third place prizes for both girls’ and boys’ teams of Ksh.100, 000 each,” revealed Rocky.
COPA Coca-Cola is the longest running youth football tournament on the continent providing international exposure and producing bona fide heroes.
This year’s tournament follows a successful campaign last season where the tournament was activated in over 20 markets in Africa with 134 players from Sub-Sahara Africa selected for a two-week international boot camp in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Kenyan contingent of 16 players had an above par performance as they emerged fourth overall and beat teams like Nigeria and Uganda. Two of the team’s players, Haron Nyakha and Garissa-born Sadam Abdulahi were named in the COPA Africa dream team as they added their names to the illustrious and long list of heroes who have emerged from the tournament.
Some of the renowned heroes that started in COPA Coca-Cola and have made it big in football include Zambia international goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene and his teammates Nathan Sinkala and Stophila Sunzu, Uganda international defender Timothy Batabaire, Nigeria and FC Porto youngster Mikel Agu, Kenya’s McDonald Mariga, Tanzania striker Thomas Ulimwengu and South Africa duo Mandla Masango and Happy Jele among others.
“COPA Coca-Cola is the place where everyone is a hero; our players, the fans, coaches, families and the community at large,” noted Rocky. “The top players from this year’s tournament will proceed to the international camp which shall be communicated in due course. As in 2012, our partnership with Chelsea FC will see coaches from the club train players at the camp,” he added.
Since its launch in Kenya over 6 years ago, COPA Coca-Cola has created a huge platform for a large number of young footballers to realize their dream of becoming football heroes not only within their communities and countries but also beyond the borders.
The games will be played every weekend with the National finals scheduled to take place in Nairobi in August.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
ABOUT COPA COCA-COLA
COPA Coca-Cola originated in Mexico in 1998 and is a national youth football tournament that seeks to support the development of grassroots youth talent. COPA Coca-Cola works in partnership with Government and / or Football Federations to make the tournament one of the leading events in a country’s soccer calendar.
Today, COPA Coca-Cola occurs in multiple nations around the world including USA, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Chile, and culminates in a World Cup style International COPA Coca-Cola tournament (ICCC) each summer.
In Africa, COPA Coca-Cola is played in countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Angola, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe as a local country tournament. In 2009 the following ECABU countries sent teams / players to compete in the Africa Copa coca-cola tournament in South Africa: Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Congo and Kenya. Nigeria and South African Team were also present at the Tournament.
2011 will see over 19 Countries in ECABU activating Copa Coca-Cola in their respective countries tapping into the passion and aspirations of young talented youth while promoting active healthy lifestyles.
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees.
Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more
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