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5,000 schools battle for 2017 COPA Coca-Cola title

7:57 pm AEDT 22/3/17

Lovers and followers of the COPA Coca-Cola U-15 football tournament have so much to look out for at this year’s edition of the competition, which will see 5,000 secondary schools across Nigeria battle for the first place, in a competition that promises an amazing football experience.

Briefing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, the Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Patricia Jemibewon disclosed this year’s theme for the competition, “COPA Coca-Cola Gives You More”.

“The teens who participate in Copa Coca-Cola give everything for football, now it is time for Copa Coca-Cola to give back much more than before. At the state level, all 110,000 participating teens will get a Copa Coca-Cola bib; the top three teams will receive medals and the winning team in all 36 States and the FCT will receive a trophy and makeover of a football pitch of their choice, worth over N5million in total,” she said.

“At the national level, players in the top 3 teams and the top 3 schools will benefit from an education trust fund totaling N22million as well as cash prizes totaling N2million. There is also the golden boot for highest goal scorer, plaque for MVP, Golden gloves for best goal keeper and a trophy for the National winner.’’

Speaking further on the Education Trust Fund, Jemibewon noted that it will go a long way in encouraging and supporting the young players to get an education while pursuing their football dreams on the field.

“Coca-Cola believes in the potential of Nigerian teens on and off the football field. Beyond football a good education plays a key role in moulding their character, expanding their knowledge base and preparing them for a meaningful life outside of football.’’

Commenting on the tournament, the Marketing Manager (Colas), Coca-Cola Nigeria, Cletus Onyebuoha remarked that the competition, which is now in its 9th year has contributed largely to the success of some of the participants who are now pursuing a career as professional footballers.

Lauding Coca-Cola for the football initiative, President of the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation (NSSF), Ibrahim Muhammed remarked that COPA Coca-Cola supports Nigeria’s drive to raise the educational standards of pupils in the country through sporting activities.

COPA Coca-Cola is the world’s largest brand supported grassroots football initiatives that connects and engages teens with the prospect of attaining their football dreams whilst also encouraging them to bond, form new friendships and acquire significant social through team involvement.

This year, the competition has been divided into three stages, the grassroots, group and final stage. At the grassroots stage, interested schools in each of the 37 states will compete for a chance to represent their states at the group stage/regional stage.

During the Group stage, each region will be divided into groups from which a winner will emerge from the tournament sequential structure for the next round. The final stage is the National Finals, which would be hosted in Lagos, with the grand finale played also in Lagos.

There is also the coaching clinic sessions where participants will be mentored and tutored by legendary ex-international football stars.