Home » Sports » Copa Coca-Cola Launched

NATIONAL Secondary Schools Heads president Johnson Madhuku yesterday said the Copa Coca-Cola Boys Under-16 and Girls Under-17 football tournament has proved to be a springboard for most up-and-coming players into stardom. Madhuku was speaking at the official launch of this year’s Copa Coca-Cola tournament at Chemhanza High School.

It will be 26th edition for the boys’ competition and the girls’ tournament will be running for the fourth year.

Chemhanza are the defending champions in the boys section and Chidyamakono from Masvingo are the girls title holders.

The launch of the tournament and draw was combined with the official send-off of two Chemhanza players, Tatenda Tumba and Tatenda Munditi, who will attend a week-long camp in Brazil next month.

They will be leaving on June 8.

Tumba and Munditi made it into the All-Stars Copa Coca-Cola African team during last year’s Copa Coca-Cola International Training Camp in South.

They will also have an opportunity to watch the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

Madhuku said the fact that the football tournament has produced footballers competing at national level shows that it has been a success.

“This is clear evidence that the efforts of our sponsors are paying dividends they are bearing good fruit, building the Team Zimbabwe that we want.

“As Nash, we are also happy to note that Copa Coca-Cola winners have been spread all over the country in the past few years and not only in urban centres.

“Today, we are here at Chemhanza High and last year we were at Mzingwane High, a clear indication that soccer talent is abound in all our schools and is clearly not a preserve for the urban establishments,” said Madhuku.

Provincial Education Director for Mashonaland East Johannes Guri, who was the guest of honour, said the future of football in this country lies in such tournaments as Copa Coca-Cola.

“To the sponsors, by sponsoring Nash football you are laying the foundation for Zimbabwean football. The future of football in this country lies in Copa Coca-Cola grassroots initiative.

“The Copa Coca-Cola tournaments in our schools have grown to be very popular over the years. Almost every school now participates in these football tournaments, from the zone right up to the national levels.

“The Copa Coca-Cola initiative is currently the most significant on the Nash calendar,” said Guri.

This year the sponsors have injected more than US$250 000 up from the US$230 000 for the previous tournament.

Coca-Cola senior franchise brand manager Takunda Jinda said they were proud to be associated with Nash as they support the development of football.

“The Coca-Cola Company in Zimbabwe is proud to have been part of the soccer landscape, developing this sport from grassroots level by attracting thousands of young children, developing them into skilled footballers and by involving families and communities,” said Jinda.

The tournament started last week with the zonal competition and the winners will progress to the district level, with provincial championships culminating in the national finals.

The finals will be played in Harare from July 18 to 20, with Churchill and Roosevelt schools hosting the boys and girls competitions respectively.

In a draw conducted yesterday, Chemhanza will battle it out against winners from Mashonaland Central and Masvingo in Pool A, while Pool B will see winners from Harare, Bulawayo and Midlands fighting for honours.

Pool C consists of Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and Manicaland. Churchill is in pool D and will be joined by winners from Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South.

In the girls’ category, Roosevelt will be joined by winners from Matabeleland South and Mashonaland Central in Pool A, while Pool B will be made up of champions from Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mashonaland East.

Chidyamakono, Matabeleland North and Midlands will fight for honours in Pool C and Pool D is made up of Harare, Manicaland and Mashonaland West.

The launch was graced by various stakeholders, including Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza and Premiership players Artwell Mukandi, Leonard Fiyado and Norman Maroto.

Source : The Herald