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2019 COPA Coca-Cola® concludes with eight national team call-ups

After three months of competitive school’s football, the 2019 edition of the COPA Coca-Cola® has concluded on a high note with the announcement that eight players who played in the tournament, have made it to the South African Under-17 national team camp.
Following Mpumalanga’s Chief Jerry Nkosi High School’s win at the National Finals and the recently concluded COPA Coca-Cola® Future Stars camp, eight COPA Coca-Cola® graduates have been selected for the South African U17 National Team provisional squad ahead of the 2019 COSAFA U17 Youth Championship in Malawi from 11-20 October.
The provisional squad of 32 will be reduced to 20 players before the team departs for Malawi.
Fortunately for the COPA Coca-Cola graduates, the guidance and advice received from COPA Coca-Cola® ambassador, Khulekani Kubheka, as well as scouts such as Jabulani Mendu will go a long way in helping the boys settle into their new roles that come with the pressures of national team duty.
Just like the eight players, Kubheka received his first national team call-up at age 15 in 2014, where he was part of the SA U17 national team that competed in the country’s first ever FIFA U17 World Cup tournament in Chile.
Congratulating the boys, Kubheka said this was the beginning of great things for the players and with the valuable lessons learnt throughout their COPA Coca-Cola® journey, their future is certainly looking bright.
“I was the same age when I received my first national team call-up after impressing at the COPA Coca-Cola® tournament. As exciting as it is, the thought of representing your national team can be quite daunting. However, I believe the competitiveness and exposure the boys experienced during the COPA Coca-Cola® tournament has laid the perfect foundation for them to compete at this level,” said an elated Kubheka, who also captained the U20 national team at the recent U20 FIFA World Cup.

Also sharing his excitement about the good news was COPA Coca-Cola® talent scout, Jabulani Mendu who worked with all eight of the selected boys at the recent COPA Coca-Cola® Future Stars camp. The former Kaizer Chiefs player said the news bear testament to the wonderful work done by Coca-Cola®.

“The platform provided by Coca-Cola® continues to be crucial for our football development. Had it not been for this year’s COPA Coca-Cola® tournament, these boys would have probably not gotten such recognition. Not only has this journey benefitted the selected players, but South African football will see a new generation of exciting talent coming up the youth ranks thanks to Coca-Cola®,” added Mendu.

COPA Coca-Cola® players selected for the Provisional SA U17 National squad:

Froneha JonesMidfielderWestern Cape
Thabang MahlanguStrikerGauteng
Siyabonga GumedeDefenderKwaZulu-Natal
Yamkela PhalaneStrikerGauteng
Sanele MabangaDefenderGauteng
KeavanioFrancisStriker Eastern Cape

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