Group A will have 4 teams, group B and C three teams. The winners of the 3 groups plus runners up of the 4 teamed group A will qualify for the semifinals.
Speaking during the draw for the finals, which are due to be held in Lusaka next week, Coca-Cola Marketing Activations Manager for Zambia Takunda Jinda reiterated the global beverage company’s commitment to helping create healthier communities and enhancing individual productivity through engaging and inspiring talent across the country by way of sports.
“We have committed ourselves to improving the quality of life in the communities where we operate. The tournament seeks to engage the players and give them insight into what it takes to play football at a professional level should they decide to pursue a career in sport. They are not only exposed to counterparts from across the country but also given meaningful training that will assist them in growing their talent,” said Mr Jinda.
Minister of Youths and Sports Development Hon. Moses Mawere (MP) commended Coca-Cola for its unwavering commitment to the tournament and sports in general stating that sports is instrumental in empowering and developing a skilled youth that can make positive contributions to the growth of the nation.
“It is a well-known factor that the youth constitute the majority of our population and in training and instilling them with principles such as discipline and determination that are fundamental to sports; we are laying a sturdy foundation for the future and setting the stage for a better Zambia,” said Hon. Mawere, in a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary of Sport Agnes Musunga.
The Minister went on to note that sports not only promotes physical wellness and a culture of discipline and hard work among the athletes but is also a uniting factor. He also pointed to the fact of how the COPA Coca-Cola tournament is in line with the National Youth Policy and how the private sector, as one of the critical stakeholders, can complement efforts in its implementations.
The Zambia Schools Sports Association (ZASSA) President Chipa Tembo also congratulated Coca-Cola on yet another exciting year of COPA Coca-Cola and urged the participating athletes to give the same level of attention and dedication to both areas of education and sorts saying; “Your grades should not suffer but neither should you neglect your talent. You will need to find a balance as you seek to achieve your goals in both areas. Education and sport complement each other. They both equip us with skills and instill in us principles that are necessary for life while serving the two distinct purposes of enriching the mind and the body.”
Mr Jinda thanked the various stakeholders involved in making the COPA Coca-Cola tournament a success over the years including the various Football Federations, the Zambia Schools Sports Association (ZASSA), the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development and many more.
“As a result of these pieces coming together, we have been able to give the young players a deserving tournament where professional standards are observed and maintained,” he added
He went on to encourage the participating teams to take the opportunity to learn all they could during this time in order to improve on their skills.
“Our very own Christopher Katongo, Stoppila Sunzu and Kennedy Mweene, who were part of the 2012 AFCON dream team, are alumni of the COPA Coca-Cola. This goes to show the caliber of talent that the tournament is privileged to have seen pass through the programme over the years. And this I say to the participants, perhaps one day this could be said of you too. Perhaps right here in this tournament is where your own journey will begin,” he added.
COPA Coca-Cola is the premier grassroots football tournament sponsored by the beverages brand in partnership 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 sponsorship package has grown annually, with the 2016 package going towards prize money, transport and logistics, accommodation and meals for teams and officials, kits and other Coke branded clothing, soccer balls, hire of football pitches and payment to referees.
In order to broaden their exposure and heighten their aspirations to become “the best of the best” in football, Coca-Cola also leverages its unique association with FIFA to give the young stars a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch an international match live.
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, with the aim of inspiring young people to be active and healthy through their shared passion for the sport. The tournament originated in Zimbabwe in 1989 with the aim of seeking to support the development of budding grassroots talent and promote active, healthy lifestyles among young people, popularised by Mexico, and was launched in Zambia in 1993 as Secondary Schools Soccer tournament and migrated to COPA to fit in the international structure in 1998.
Across Africa, COPA Coca-Cola is played in 23 other countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Congo, Swaziland, Nigeria and South Africa, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius and Burundi. Outside the continent, COPA Coca-Cola is also played in the Americas, Europe and Asia and is in a total 68 countries over 1.3 million players.
|COPA COCA-COLA 2017|
|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|