HARARE – This year's edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Boys and Girls' schools tournament will be launched on May 15 at Mashonaland East's Rusununguko High, the U15 Boys' defending champions.
Addressing journalists during a media appreciation function, where sports journalists who have been covering COPA Coca-Cola tournament for the past five to eight years were honoured, Coca-Cola Senior Brand Manager Vee Chibanda announced the date for the launch, with the zonal games expected to kick off on May 24.
"This year's COPA Coca-Cola will be launched at Rusununguko High School on the 15th of May. After the launch, we are expecting zonal games to kick off on May 24 followed by district games on June 8. The provincial finals will be on June 22 and the national finals will be staged in Zvishavane, Midlands province from 12-14 July, with Zvishavane High and Mandava High hosting girls and boys respectively," said Chibanda.
She also thanked the media for the overwhelming coverage of the COPA Coca-Cola tournament since its inception in 1989 saying the programme would not have gone this far if we did not have scribes who recognise the importance of grassroots soccer.
"It's now 30 years since this tournament was launched in 1989. I want to salute you all members of the media for the tremendous work that you have done to promote this tournament. If the media were not giving COP Coca-Cola the visibility that it requires, it would not have been this successful," said Chibanda.
COPA Coca-Cola has produced players like former Ndarama and Gokomere High star Ovidy Karuru, former Hippo Valley High's Harlington Shereni, Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Peter Ndlovu and current premier soccer league duo of Tatenda Tumba and Tatenda Munditi.
Chidyamakono from Chivi district are the girls' defending champions after they clinched the title for the fifth consecutive, while Gutu High are the Masvingo provincial defending champions for the boys. Chidyamakono and Rusununguko will have automatic tickets to the national finals as the defending champions.sport