RADISELE: Leading soft drink manufacturer, Coca-Cola has injected P800, 000 into this year’s Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) football competition.
The sponsorship, which falls under the global COPA Coca-Cola programme, extends Coca-Cola and BISA partnership to five years.
Speaking at the launch held at Radisele Junior Secondary School (JSS) grounds this week, Coca-Cola senior brand manager, Tamar Mbalo said the BISA tournament has proved to be the right platform for aspiring footballers to kick- start their careers. She said throughout the years of the partnership, the programme has been able to produce elite football players hence Coca-Cola saw the need to continue with the partnership. “We hope and believe this tournament will continue to pay tribute to the junior soccer players who have worked very hard over many years to attain the standards required to represent their schools and even their nation,” Mbalo said.
“With COPA Coca-Cola, we have been sowing the seeds for football everywhere, for the good of all.”
BISA president, Joshua Gaotlhobogwe said the sponsorship comes in handy for the association as the P1-million grant from the government is inadequate to fund their tournaments.
“Our annual budget is around P10 million but what we get from the government is P1-million, we also have grant from the sports commission. The ministry has been helping in funding our
“Therefore, this sponsorship comes as a blessing as we are here to celebrate a new commitment with Coca-Cola.”
For his part, the assistant minister of Basic Education, Thato Kwerepe lauded Coca-Cola for their input in the development of football from grassroots level. He said sports could be taken as a career as he said the ministry is helping build a skills-based economy.
“I’m informed that Coca-Cola has already spent P3.45 million in the programme. Government alone cannot fund the development of sports. Sports is expansive but for companies like Coca-Cola to extend a helping hand, we should really appreciate what they are doing. I plead with private sector to emulate what Coca-Cola is doing,” he said. Radisele JSS are the defending champions in both the boys’ and girls’ Under-15 sections. The teams would begin their quest to defend their titles at the zonal finals in Selebi-Phikwe over the weekend. Other zonal finals would be held in Francistown, Gaborone and Lobatse. The Copa Coca-Cola programme has produced a number of elite footballers like South African-based; Mogakolodi Ngele, Jwaneng Galaxy’s Thato Kebue and Gaborone United’s third choice goalkeeper, Ryan Brown.