Copa launch set for Rusununguko

HARARE - The 30th edition of the Copa Coca-Cola, the epitome of schools football tournament across the globe that has provided a platform for budding talents for almost three decades, will be launched at Rusununguko High School later this month.

Rusununguko, who are based in Mashonaland East, are the defending champions after beating Pfupajena High School in last year’s tournament to win the Copa Coca-Cola title for the first time in the School’s history.

Last year’s edition of the tournament for boys and girls adopted a new format as the organisers conform to the international standards as outlined by Fifa.

In the previous years, the junior schoolboy football tournament had run with the Under-16 age group for the boys but with effect from last year it was limited to only Under-15 players. The girls’ section, however, remained eligible for players in the Under-17 category.

Speaking during yesterday’s function to appreciate the media for the crucial role they have played over the years in boosting the development of the game around the globe through reporting, Coca-Cola senior brand manager Vee Chibanda said: “This year’s Copa Coca-Cola will be launched at Rusununguko High School in Mashonaland East, the 2017 boys defending champions on May 15. After the launch we are expecting zonal games to kick off on May 24 followed by district games on June 8.

“Provincial finals are set for June 22. The national finals will be staged in Zvishavane, Midlands province between July 12-14. Zvishavane High School will host the girls while Mandava High School will host the boys.”

On appreciating the media Chibanda said: “This year’s marks a special millstone in the history of Copa Coca-Cola. It’s now 30 years since this tournament was launched in 1989.

“As we celebrate this journey, the journey we have travelled together with you members of the media, we are very cognisant of the fact that Copa Coca-Cola would not have not reached this far, if we did not have scribes like you, who recognise the importance of grassroots soccer.

“I want to salute you all members of the media for the tremendous work that you have done to promote this tournament. The journey started in 1989 at Gifford High School when the first final of the Copa Coca-Cola tournament in collaboration with National Association of Schools Heads (Nash) football tournament was held in Bulawayo with teams from the country’s 10 provinces.”

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