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2012 COPA Coca-Cola Under-15 National Finals scheduled for Johannesburg

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The 2012 under-15 COPA Coca-Cola football tournament will reach a climax when the 9 provincial winners compete in the National Finals happening at the Nike Football Centre, Soweto from 12 to 14 July.

The National Finals are a culmination of months of gruelling qualifiers to find the best school team to represent the province at the National Finals.  Approximately 1 500 schools registered to participate and it is now down to just nine.

With reigning champions HTS Louis Botha Technical High School from Free State, and runners-up Sol Plaatje Secondary School from North West out of the running, it opens the door for others such as Bodikela Junior Secondary School from Thabo Mofutsanyana Region in Free State and newcomers, Masibonisane High School from Umkhanyakude Region in KwaZulu-Natal.

Bodikela last reached the National Finals in 2005 with their under-17 team and now, 7 years later, they have managed to reach this level again, through hard work and perseverance.  What helped was the fact that the players have been together since they competed at the under-12 level.

“We are as ready as we’ll ever be,” says Bodikela coach, Mokoni Molefe. “The team has two fantastic goalkeepers and excellent players on the wings. They make beautiful crosses that usually end in goals. We can’t wait.”

Molefe is also convinced that some of his players will catch the attention of scouts who will be at the event. “Being identified as a potential star is importance to the youngsters,” said Molefe.  “Most of my players would like to go into a development structure that will guide them to becoming better footballers as well as giving them career advice.”

Games kick-off at 9am on 12 and 13 July.  On the final day the third/fourth play-off starts at 10am, followed by a match between the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) and the media with the final game happening at 12pm.  Entrance is FREE and Coca-Cola will also be running competitions where the public can win Coca-Cola prizes

“Copa Coca-Cola is about identifying talent and we also use this platform to encourage the youth to live active and healthy lifestyles, part of our ‘Live for a Difference’ strategy,” said Craig Van Niekerk, Coca-Cola South Africa Marketing Asset Manager.   “Coca-Cola South Africa has been sponsoring local development football for many years and we are proud of the players that have gone on to become professionals, include Steven Pienaar who competed back in 1999.”

Players  identified in previous years who have gone on to make successful careers for themselves include Mandla Masango of Kaiser Chiefs,  Happy Jele currently with Orlando Pirates, Thabang Matuka of Vasco da Gama and Andile Jali with Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana.

Participating teams:

Eastern Cape
Amathole Region
Ketane Junior Secondary School
Free State
Thabo Mofutsanyana Region
Bodikela Junior Secondary School
Johannesburg North
Johannesburg Secondary School
KwaZulu - Natal
Umkhanyakude Region
Masibonisane High School
Capricorn Region
Lwamondo High School
Bohlabela Region
Lehlasedi High School

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