THE 27th edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Under 15 tournament finals kicks off tomorrow in Lusaka with 20 schools vying for the coveted COPA championship trophy.
The tournament is set to run up to August 17.
Ten girls’ and 10 boys’ teams from the country’s 10 provinces will be competing for the national championship this weekend at and around Woodlands Stadium, with equal prizes for the girls and boys.
Zambia Schools Sport Association (ZASSA) president Chipangano Tembo said preparations have gone well and all is set for the national finals.
“We are expecting a thrilling tournament. Preparations have gone well and all is set for the national finals. Last year was a very special year as it was the first time we incorporated girls into the tournament,” said Tembo.
Coca-Cola beverages Africa director Herbert Nuwamanya said the company will continue to support the growth of grassroots soccer as many have benefited from COPA Coca-Cola over the years.
“Every year has its unique success story. Some have gone on to become superstars of the football fraternity. The likes of Stopila Sunzu and Kennedy Mweene have participated and benefited from the skills and spirit of tournament. It is our ambition to continue to use this platform for Zambian youth to showcase and hone their talents,” he said.
The COPA Coca-Cola schools’ tournament is an annual grassroots football tournament which aims to identify, nurture and reward the best in young footballing talent.
According to a statement, the tournament that unlocks the ambitious dreams and possibilities of world’s football stars aims to inspire young footballers to achieve their dreams through a renowned and respected tournament.
Last year, Southern Province schools outplayed 18 other teams from around the country to be crowned champions of the 2018 COPA Coca-Cola secondary schools tournament. Choma Day Secondary School emerged as the champions in the girls category while Choma Boarding Secondary School scooped the boys trophy.
In Africa, COPA Coca-Cola is played in 22 other countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Congo, Swaziland, Nigeria and South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mauritius and Burundi.
COPA Coca-Cola is also played in the Americas, Europe and Asia and is in a total 64 countries reaching out to over 1.3 million teenagers.
Lusaka – Arakan Boys Secondary and Kabulonga Girls; Western – Matauka Secondary and Namushekende;
N/Western – Chivuma Boarding, Meheba Secondary; Luapula – Mutono Day Secondary and Mansa Secondary;
Muchinga – Muchinga Day Secondary and Chinsali Girls Secondary
Northern – Ituna Secondary and Kasama Girls Secondary
Central – Kabwe Secondary and Mine Secondary
Eastern – Chizongwe Technical and Gonda Day Secondary.
Copperbelt – Kitwe Boys Secondary and Chingola Combined Secondary
Southern – Choma Boarding Secondary and Choma Day Secondary.