TWELVE teams will next month compete to determine who will be the Under-16 champion of Africa in the second edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup to take place in Thika, Kenya from December 2 to 5.
Kenya are the defending champions after winning the inaugural tournament last year in Nakuru.
The Zambian team which come from the cradle of COPA Coca-Cola is hoping to build from last years’ successful experience when they managed to reach the semi-finals where they lost to hosts Kenya.
According to a statement, the tournament themed ‘Bigger for Better’ seeks to promote a level playing field by bringing together players from different backgrounds and cultures for one goal; be the African champion.
It stated that in line with this year’s theme, the COPA Coca-Cola tournament was more than football in all participating schools across Africa.
It seeks to impact behaviour change by introducing plastic collection as part of educating them on the importance of a cleaner environment by taking care of plastics disposal.
Participating teams will include Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Namibia and host country Kenya.
“The COPA Africa Cup is a platform that will go a long way in ensuring that students are the next generation of soccer stars. The array of stars the tournament has provided to the national football teams of the participating teams is a testament of the crucial nature of the games,” said Mandy Matsheko, Zambia Coca-Cola brand manager. “Our partner, the Zambia Schools Sport Association (ZASSA) has immensely supported and managed the tourney ensuring success of the games.”
The teams will be put into groups of three.
The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter finals together with the overall two best third placed teams.
Then teams will progress to the semi-finals and finals where the champion will be determined. The draw is on this week.
Coca-Cola Company says it enables people around the world to experience and celebrate their passion for football.
The company is one of the longest serving corporate partner of FIFA with a formal relationship since 1974 and an official sponsorship of FIFA World Cup that began in 1978.
“Previously, the company invested in taking outstanding players in specialised training in the COPA Coca-Cola global camps where they visited most of the football iconic cities,” said Phillipine Mtikitiki – general manager, Coca-Cola East & Central Africa Franchise. “Now, we are exposing the students to friendly professional competitions, a wide range of coaches and scouts from the best football clubs all over Africa in a bid to ensure they are scouted to continue their footballing journey. We urge all football stakeholders; parents, teachers and scouts to walk with us in this journey of unearthing African football talents and skills.”
It says the games are part of the company’s wider commitment to improve the sport in the continent.
Since 1989, the COPA Coca-Cola tournament has been played in Africa each year, with the first country to play the games being Zimbabwe.
Kusa Sifuwe (Matauka Secondary), Isaac Masauso Lungu (Ituna Secondary), Jones Pensulu (Arakan Secondary), Kennedy Mwansa (Muchinga Secondary), Yoram Sakala (Chizongwe Technical), Mathews Mwamba (Ituna Secondary), Maybin Mushota (Mwavi Secondary), Davies Sawaisha (Arakan Secondary), Dumusani Nyirenda (Mwavi Secondary), Patrick Simwinga (Ituna Secondary), Savior Sikapande , (Jacaranda), Onious Nsamya (ZOCS), Emmanuel Kombanya Daka (Jarmy), Joe Tembo (Northmead), Sydney Chola (Kasama) and Innocent Nkhoma from Mungwi Technical.
Coach: Weluzani Zulu,
Head of delegation is ZASSA president Chipangano S. Tembo.