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Copa Coca-Cola embarking on youth development

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The COPA Coca-Cola is now in its seventh year and tens of thousands of South African teens have enjoyed competing in the tournament to-date. The initiative recognises that there is not only the technical side of football but also an active lifestyle that makes you realise your dreams.

COPA Coca-Cola® provides the platform for learners to inspire their friends, family and their greater community to lead a more energetic and healthy lifestyle. Science has shown us that the benefits of daily exercise include growing and development healthy bone, muscles and assisting with weight management.

Learners face a number of challenges in their daily lives, no matter what background they come from, and getting onto the football pitch provides them with an enjoyable way to release energy and build dreams for tomorrow.

 “Coca-Cola encourages physical activity as part of an active, healthy lifestyle through many different stages, one of which is the COPA Coca-Cola. The tournament is a fun environment for youngsters to get exercise, enjoy themselves and feel part of a team. We want to grow healthy bodies and minds so that the learners can lead a more balanced lifestyle in the future,” Coca-Cola South Africa’s Marketing Assets Manager, Fetsi Mbele, says.

“COPA Coca-Cola® provides an opportunity for young stars to have their talent recognized and rewarded. We have put together a team of scouts who will be looking for those special gems who show potential to be able to go on and make a career out of football.” Mbele added.

One man who knows all about the benefits healthy lifestyle is Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana right-back Happy Jele, who himself starred in the COPA Coca-Cola® as a youngster.

 “There is no greater feeling than being out there on the pitch; I still get a thrill from it today. Working hard to keep your body at an optimum performance level is about discipline and that is another important lesson for these learners. To be fit and healthy, and playing the sport you love, is a great achievement and COPA Coca-Cola® is an excellent starting point for these youngsters,” Jele says.

The 2013 COPA Coca-Cola® Provincial Finals officially kicked-off two weeks ago, another chapter in the rich history of a tournament that has already produced top local stars Jele, Andile Jali and Mandla Masango.

Tikhontele Secondary School from Mpumalanga and Qhilika High School from Kwazulu-Natal have already booked their places at the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola National Finals to be held in Cape Town from 10 – 13 October 2013.

The next provinces to host their Provincial Finals are Gauteng and Limpopo on the 31st August 2013.
This year, however, there will be a lot more to play for with the inclusion of an All Star Invitational Team scouted from the pool of up-and-coming football heroes.

The All Star Invitational Team provides aspiring footballers the opportunity to fast-track their way into the final phase along with the most promising players from around the provinces.  This team will be scouted during the provincial phase of the competition, and will then compete against the remaining nine provincial team winners in the four-day COPA Coca-Cola National Finals.

In all, more than 30 000 footballers from around the country are expected to take part in the various phases of the competition.
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