COCA-COLA marketing activations manager for Zambia and Malawi Takunda Jinda says a serious display of talent is expected at the COPA Cola-Cola finals. The top ten schools from around the country are heading to Lusaka this week ahead of the COPA Coca-Cola finals to be played in the capital.
The teams are expected to arrive tomorrow before the games that are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
“We are working hard behind the scenes to make this year’s COPA Coca-Cola a success and expecting a serious display of talent as the players and schools expect more of themselves with each year,” said Jinda.
Over 450 schools participated in the preliminary knockouts July and August, with the best teams from each of the ten provinces in the country qualifying for this year’s tournament finals in Lusaka.
The event will see the teams compete over the two days at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) on Friday with subsequent games, including the finals, being conducted at the National Heroes Stadium.
COPA Coca-Cola is sponsored by Coca-Cola in partnership with Zambia Schools Sports Association (ZASSA) and the Ministry of Education.
The initiative commenced in 1993 with only 100 schools participating and has now grown to include 450 government and private schools in Zambia.
The tournament also has several professional football players among its alumni including 2012 AfCON winners Christopher Katongo, Stoppila Sunzu and Kennedy Mweene.
Linda High School from Livingstone in Southern Province lifted the championship cup last year.
COPA Coca-Cola is the largest brand-supported grassroots football tournament in the world, played in over 68 countries by 1.3 million teenage players.
The line-up for the 2-017 finals is as follows:
Eastern Province : Petauke Day School
Luapula Province : Mansa Secondary School
Central Province : Chibombo Secondary School
Southern Province : Monze Boarding School
Copperbelt Province : Sekela Secondary School
Muchinga Province : Chinsali Secondary School
Western Province : Kambule Secondary School
Northern Province : Ituna Secondary School
North-Western Province : Chavuma Boarding School
Lusaka Province : Mwavi Secondary School
Group A consists of four teams and group B and C is comprised of three teams. The winners of the three groups plus runners-up of Group A qualify for the semifinals.