Who will be the next Copa Coca Cola star?

The Copa Coca Cola has produces countless talent PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Copa Coca Cola has produces countless talent PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The annual Copa Coca Cola tournament has continually churned top talent over the years, players who have gone on to be households names in the region, and with this year’s finals just seven days away, who will emerge as the new star, asks Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE

Young top talent from across the country will be on show when the Copa Coca Cola finals are played in Gaborone, starting next week Friday.

The junior tournament has over the years, produced notable players, some who have gone on to grace the famed fields of England.

Peter Ndlovu is a former winner of the competition during his time in Zimbabwe, before he saw his career blossom after signing for then English Premier League side, Coventry City.

He became the longest African in the English game, staying for more than a decade in England.

Copa Coca Cola is the world’s largest grassroots football tournament, drawing over one million youngsters from across the globe. In Botswana, the famed Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane and Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele are some of the recognisable faces to have participated in the youth tournament, meant for secondary schools.

Next week, football fans and scouts will scour the various venues in the capital, searching for a new star.

Botswana Football Association president, Maclean Letshwiti rode on a campaign anchored on development, and Copa Coca Cola offers boundless talent to develop the game.

This year’s competition was launched in Nthwalang Junior Secondary School just outside Lobatse and already promises thrills.

Three of the four defending champions have survived the gruelling elimination rounds, which took place across the country last month.

Only 32 teams remain in all the age groups and gender. Radisele made a firm grip on the trophy last year, after winning both the Under-17 titles, while Batanani from Mapoka arrive in Gaborone to defend their Under-15 boys title. Only Nthwalang fell by the wayside, after being eliminated in the early rounds. The team held the Under-15 girls title.

There is an added incentive after Coca Cola upped its prize money from last year’s P800,000 to P1.2million.

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