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Copa Coca Cola Cup heading for KZN

 

THE Cecil Emmet Sports Grounds in Vryheid will be the venue for the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Finals in the under-15 COPA Coca-Cola football tournament this coming Saturday (kickoff 9am).

Twelve Regional winners from around the province will be in action on the day and they will be fighting it out for the KwaZulu-Natal title and for the honour of representing the province at the National Finals in July. The winning schools also receive prize money from the sponsors, to be used to purchase sporting and educational equipment for their school.

Among the contenders to take the KwaZulu-Natal crown is Umqhele Secondary School from the Pinetown district. This is the sixth time that the school has played in the COPA Coca-Cola competition. They won the 2007 KwaZulu-Natal provincials title and were knocked out in the quarterfinal stage of the National Playoffs that year. Among the school’s most famous ex-pupils is Golden Arrows and Bafana Bafana midfielder Thanduyise Khuboni.

As far as this year’s team is concerned, Luyanda Mchunu, a speedy striker with an eye for goals, who netted six times in the regional stage of the competition, and goalkeeper Mlungisi  Mkhize who saved four penalties ion the regional playoff games, are likely to be key players on Saturday.

Umqhele Secondary’s coach is Phenduka Mkhwanazi. He says his team are determined to be crowned the provincial champions on Saturday.

“We don’t have a sponsor and this is our chance to win ourselves some money so we can buy soccer equipment because at the moment we have a good soccer field but our soccer balls and kit is old and some of our players have to borrow boots for matches,” he says.

Umqhele’s strongest opposition is likely to come from Bethamoya High School from the Amajuba district.

The school is based in Emadadeni Township near Newcastle. This is the fourth time they have been in the COPA Coca-Cola competition and they won the KwaZulu-Natal title in 2009.

Their key players are striker Xolani Cebekhulu who got four goals in the regional stage of the competition; Samukelo Dweku, who is a midfielder and a good ball distributor to the strikers and the captain, Sanele Nyembe, a defender who reads the game very well.

Their coach is Sihlesenkosi Gwala, a teacher at the school. He says they are grateful for the opportunity Coca-Cola is giving them.

“Our former student Andile Ace Khumalo plays for AmaZulu after being identified at the COPA Coca-Coca Tournament in 2009 by AmaZulu scouts,” Gwala says.

 

Schools competing in the KwaZulu-Natal COPA Coca-Cola Provincial finals are:

 

KWAZULU NATAL

REGION

TEAMS

VENUE

Amajuba

Bethamoya High School

 

 

 

 

 

Cecil Emmet Sports Grounds, Vryheid. 

Empangeni

Khombindlela High School

Ilembe

Guzana Secondary School

Pinetown

Umqhele Secondary School

Umlazi

Bonela Secondary School

Ugu

Sphakeme High School

Sisonke

Dingeka Technical High School

Umgungundlovu

Sukuma Comprehensive  School

Umzinyathi

Sebenzakusakhanya High School

Uthukela

Mthonjeni Wolwazi High School

Umkhanyakude

Masibonisane High School

Vryheid

Siyangempumelelo High School

 

 

About COPA Coca-Cola:

·         Copa Coca-Cola is run under the auspices of the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA)

·         Coca-Cola started sponsoring Coca-Cola Football Stars in 2005.

·         Between 2005 and 2008 a TV reality element was introduced aimed at finding the top 18 players who would go on to compete internationally.  To keep interests high an elimination process was brought in to reduce players from approximately 70 down to 18 and the public witnessed the trials and tribulations that went into becoming a top football player.

·         In 2009 and 2010 the name changed to bring the tournament in line with Coca-Cola’s global youth strategy to COPA Coca-Cola.  The aim of the tournament remained the same i.e. to look for the top Under-19 school in the country and find the top 18 players who then competed against approximately 13 other African schools in the Copa Coca-Cola finals. 

·         In 2012 COPA Coca-Cola became an Under 15 tournament to align with the Copa Coca-Cola globally. 

·         The tournament starts off at Cluster level (this level is now complete as it happened in January)

·         Regional winners then compete in the Provincial Finals

·         Provincial winners then compete in the National Finals taking place from the 12rd – 14th July.

 

 

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