Copa Coca-Cola schools football tournament returns

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unnamedSchool children from across the country stand the chance of football stardom with the launch of the 2016 COPA Coca-Cola grassroots school football tournament – now in its 23rd year.

COPA Coca-Cola is the premier grassroots football tournament sponsored by the drinks brand in partnership with the 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 has a number of professional football players among itsalumni including 2012 AFCON winners Stoppila Sunzu and Kennedy Mweene.

“At Coca-Cola, we recognise that we cannot have a healthy and growing business unless the communities we serve are healthy and sustainable. As a global beverage company, we have committed ourselves to improving the quality of life in the communities where we do business,” said Zambian Breweries Managing Director, Annabelle Degroot.

The sponsorship covers 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.

About 450 schools teams will play in this year’s tournament, with knock-out games being played at regional level. The top schools in each region go on to provincial tournaments. A total of ten schools – one from each province – then qualify for the national championship finals in Lusaka later in the year.

The national games are played in the capital over five days, during which the best 13 players are selected to form the country’s COPA Coca-Cola team that travels for international camps for ten days.

In 2015 Chizongwe were crowned champions of the COPA Coca-Cola schools football tournament following a thrilling final at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka. The Eastern Province team beat 2014 runners-up, Chongwe High School 4-1.

As part of its Live for a Difference committment to communities, COPA Coca-Cola promotes an active, healthy lifestyle while fostering teens’ interest in soccer. The tournament offers youth an opportunity to meet and interact with peers across the country as well as other nations. The programme also provides opportunities to recognise rising soccer talent among community youth.

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.

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 64 countries over 1.3 million players.


2 Responses to Copa Coca-Cola schools football tournament returns

  1. We realy apreciate this initiative by the sponsors.Our provincial championship in western province was spoiled by poor officiatng and lack of understandng of the rules of the game by both the organisers and the referees.We had a situation whre our(kambule)coach was shown a red card!Absurd,was it?This was afta he questioned a situation whre a substitution took place on other side,infact the other team had their technical bench on the opposite side instead of the side whre the match comissioner was.We also witnesd a situation whre a substituted player went into the same game 2 play 4 the second time! my apeal 2 the organisors is dat during such tournaments,at provincial level,they shud send qualified referees and oficials 2 oversee such games otherwise deserving teams wil loose out.The use of overaged players was rampant.

    Sinyinda m.
    June 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm

  2. Well spoken! I totally agree with you that we cannot have a healthy and growing business unless the communities we serve are healthy and sustainable. Let this message resonate in the minds of all company leaders in Zambia to support grass root football tornerments so that we broaden the exposure of our youth and heighten their aspirations to become “the best of the best” in football.

    The drinks brand company have done it again to organize and launch the premier grassroots football tournament in Zambia. Many thanks also go to the Zambia Schools Sports Association (ZASSA) for partnering with them and am sure because of this, one of them deserves a free seat in the FAZ executive board.

    I am also deeply impressed by the drinks brand company that is behind the initiation of this future success story of the Coca-Cola premier grassroots football tournament. I appeal to other companies in Zambia to emulate their example of sponsoring and organizing schools teams to play in annual tournaments, with knock-out games being played at regional level.

    Let it be recorded on this day that we the people of Zambia are thankful to them for thier commitment to improving the quality of life in our communities where they do business through sponsoring and organizing football tournerments.

    Such tournaments can help us tap talent from all the provinces of mother Zambia which I think is not currently reflective of our Zambia football national team today. That’s why whenever a Zambian player in our national team performs badly, I console myself by saying there surely must be a better player somewhere in Zambia who can do a better job if given a chance.

    Lets encourage our new president of FAZ Andrew Kamanga by giving him ideas upon which to boost his vision and passion for our national team.

    Let us help him to translate this passion into practical ways, so that he can usher our national team to greater heights. I believe we can build our national team on vibrant principles such as those in the movie called “The Titans,” where they transformed their difficulties into positive anchors in order to build a more cooperative and successful team. I am using the Titans as an example because it is based on a true story.

    I am aware that the Chipolopolo have been drawn in Group B along with Africa’s highest ranked team Algeria and seasoned campaigners Cameroon and Nigeria. However, it is possible that if we collectively do our homework right, we will be able to repeat history by beating these big teams. An additional suggestion in order to realize this goal is to encourage the coach to adopt an authoritarian coaching style which emphasizes perfection and pushing players to the limit in order to help the team become more cohesive and strong. We need to encourage the assistant coach to strike a balance by having democratic coaching style which is basically more concerned about the well-being of the players and not just their success.

    Lastly let us make our football scientific and not just physical by embracing principles of sports psychology to manage our team and tapping talent from all parts of the country through grass route tounerments. Let us recognize the rising football talent among our community youth in all parts of the country through supporting grassroots football tournaments

    Dr Imasiku Liamunga
    July 3, 2016 at 1:57 pm

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