The Copa Coca-Cola marks its 8th edition by continuing to give support to young Rwandan football stars under the theme “Everything for Football”.
Copa Coca-Cola will continue to drive the development of grassroots football in Rwanda by building up strong football, the organisers said.
“Our ambition for Copa Coca-Cola is to make it the biggest and most inclusive football tournament in Rwanda.” Julius Kayoboke, marketing director, Bralirwa said.
“We will award certificates of participation to all the players from the initial 240 teams competing at the Copa Coca-Cola district preliminary level. We will visit players during their practice sessions at schools and we will continue awarding cash prizes, medals, trophies and organize a camp for the best players,” he added.
Locally, Copa Coca-Cola has helped detect football talent like goalkeeper Heriter Ahishakiye, and outfield players Emery Bayisenge and Yannick Mukunzi, who now play for APR and Amavubi.
The Coca-Cola COPA tournament runs in over 20 African countries giving more than 50,000 young players the opportunity to display their talent.
Over the years, football professionals have emerged from the tournament, including Zambian national team goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, and his national teammates Nathan Sinkala and Stophila Sunzu; Ugandan international defender Timothy Batabaire; Nigeria FC Porto midfielder Mikel Agu; Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga; Tanzanian striker Thomas Ulimwengu; and the South African duo of Mandla Masango and Happy Jele, among others.
In Rwanda, this year’s tournament opened to 416 teams from all districts of the country, in both boys’ and girls’ categories. The best teams will move qualify for the national finals due May 28-29.