The 2016 COPA Coca-Cola tournament starts this weekend. The tournament – a partnership between Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) and Botswana Integrated Sports Associations (BISA) – has been hailed a success by both parties. KBL has sponsored the tournament with a total of P3.3 million in three years with the final P1 150 000 released this week for 2016. COPA The tournament gives a platform to U-15 and U-17 boys and girls who love playing football. Speaking at the launch of the 2016 tournament Coke Marketing Activations Manager Tamar Mbalo said they hope that the initiative will go a long way in developing talent in Botswana, adding that the tournament is meant to develop soccer in the world. She said after it started in 1989 in Zimbabwe it has spread to the rest of the world. COPA Coca-Cola is now played in over 61 countries around the world, according to Mbalo. KLB Marketing Manager Peo Porogo said the tournament is aimed at giving equal opportunities to boys and girls as well as support development from grassroots level.
“Our intention is to help get more young people not only to play soccer but instil permanent sporting values in them at an early age,” said Porogo. She explained that the competition is open to all secondary schools across the country. The tournament involves 209 schools locally. BISA president Joshua Gaotlhobogwe expressed his excitement towards KBL initiative, saying the relationship they have is realising its intended goals. Gaotlhobogwe said their goal is to unearth talent and so far they have been able to discover raw talent that the country has. He said more than 20 000 players are taking part in the competition. Coke Operations and Marketing manager Mitsepi Sefako said through the COPA Coca-Cola tournament young Batswana players continue to should growth. Sefako said since this is a global tournament two players from Botswana will be representing the country at a global camp in France. He said the players were chosen because of the talent and commitment they have shown throughout the past camps.
Ryan Brown, a young goalkeeper and Kabo Seshabo will leave for France on 27 June 2016 for the global camp. According to Sefako, the duo reached here after being chosen after being best personality player and best player in last year’s regional camp in South Africa. He pointed out that this is an example of the impact that the COPA Coca-Cola tournament is making in Botswana football.