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The making of soccer legends

GENERATION NEXT
By - | May 19th 2013

By REBECCA GICHANA

If you have ever wondered where football talent is tapped from in the country, then you need to watch the Copa Coca Cola tournament. The 2013 edition of Africa’s premier youth football tournament was launched recently with teams from Nairobi battling it out.

The tournament which transitions from under-17 to under -15 will see teens set their sights on becoming Africa’s next generation of football heroes as it kicks off in more than 20 African countries.

The shift to under-15, according to Coca Cola Kenya Country Manager, Rocky Findly is aimed at harnessing and exposing talent from an earlier age thus giving players the opportunity to be picked up by local football academies and clubs.

“This will allow our kids to gain skills and experience from an earlier age thus become better and more grounded players,” Findly said during the launch.

Unlike in the past, this year’s tournament will be open to school and community teams with each Football Kenya Federation branch presenting six boys and four girls’ teams to take part in the games. The teams will compete in the branch league where they will play One-legged Round Robin matches. The top two teams will then advance to the inter-branch league for yet another Round Robin match up. “It is the winners from this level that will advance to the national finals,” said Copa Coca Cola coordinator and Michezo Ichezwe Africa Director, Gerald Chege.

Unlike last year where outstanding individuals were scouted from each level, teams will progress as a cohesive unit in this year’s edition. Speaking to Generation Next, Chege said: “The best teams will play all through the tournament to the international camp. We want to keep the sense of cohesiveness to ensure our team will be a force to reckon with when the tournament progresses to the international stages.”

Prizes for grabs at the finals include: First teams will get Sh500,000 each with second placed teams taking home Sh200,000. Those in third position will take home Sh100,000 each in both categories.

This year’s tournament follows a successful campaign last season where the tournament was activated in over 20 markets in Africa with 134 players from Sub-Saharan Africa selected for a two-week international boot camp in Pretoria, South Africa.

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