COPA COCA COLA calls on all South Africans to play their part

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Hot on the heels of the selection of the National U17 football team, Coca-Cola® South Africa is excited to mark the launch of the annual 2015 COPA Coca-Cola® football tournament.
Spotlighting some of the best upcoming, youth football talent in South Africa, Coca-Cola is going a step further this year and encouraging all South Africans, particularly youth to get active and healthy by asking them ‘What role will you play’.
“This year, we are excited to be introducing a new campaign element to COPA Coca-Cola® – ‘What role will you play’. The campaign is a call to action for all South Africans to support and celebrate teenagers getting active and healthy. It connects to the heart of COPA which aims to inspire young people to be active and healthy through their shared passion for the sport of football,” explains Sharon Keith, Marketing Director of Coca-Cola South Africa.
The COPA Coca-Cola® ‘What role will you play’ campaign will be the highlighting the vital role that everyone has to play, both on and off the football pitch to encourage our youth to lead an active, healthy lifestyle through sport and platforms like COPA Coca-Cola®. The campaign will also recognise and reward team work, leadership, friendship, good sportsmanship, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication.
The campaign features eight current and former COPA Coca-Cola® players from across the globe, who each embody and represent the dynamic and unique roles that make up a successful team – The Rock, the Heart, the Perfectionist, the Rebel, the Joker, the Impossible, the Machine and the Artist.
Among these global ambassadors is 16 year old South African born Siyanda Jezile from Centurion. Jezile represents The Artist – a character renowned for their hypnotising flair and technique on the field. Over the course of the campaign, his stories and experiences of COPA Coca-Cola® locally and globally will be shared, to demonstrate the positive impact which the tournament has had on his life.
“Working closely with ambassadors who have experienced the unique spirit of COPA Coca-Cola®, this year’s tournament will recognise the contributions of all players who are the real stars on the pitch while championing parents, coaches, schools and associations who are helping teens achieve their dreams every day – because everyone has a role to play,” adds Keith.
Keith continues, “We are also looking to further extend the campaign locally, by identifying and recognising young South African footballers from the 2015 tournament who also embody the characteristics of our global ambassadors.”
Molefi Ntseki, South African National U17 coach, comments, “Structures such as the COPA Coca-Cola® tournament are essential to the development of the next generation of stars for our national teams. We have identified the creation of development programmes as a crucial focus for the coming years, and each and every one has an important role to play in helping us unearth those players with national team potential.”
Two footballers who are living proof of the effectiveness of the programme as a developmental platform are COPA Coca-Cola® graduates Kulekani Khubeka (16) and Luyanda Mdlalose (16). Kulekani and Luyanda both participated in the 2014 COPA Coca-Cola® tournament and were selected to represent South Africa at the 2015 U17 CAF African Youth Championship, taking place in Mali this year.

Keith concludes, “The past eight years has seen the COPA Coca-Cola® football tournament go from strength to strength and prove itself, not only as a successful development platform, but also as a platform to inspire young people to lead an active, healthy lifestyle through their shared passion for football. The ‘What role will you play’ campaign is a natural extension of this progression and we are excited to watch the latest crop of footballing talent have the opportunity to come to the fore in the 2015 tournament.”

The tournament kicked off in March with the regionals matches in the Eastern Cape and will finish off the regional rounds on the 1st of August in Mpumalanga. Post the regional matches across the country, teams will battle it out for their spot in the provincial knock-outs in a hope to represent their Province at the national finals taking place on the 23rd to 26th of September 2015.

With over 1.3 million teenagers from more than 60 countries taking part, COPA Coca-Cola® is recognised globally as the leading grassroots football programme in the world. Now in its eighth year in South Africa, COPA Coca-Cola® has firmly established itself as a critical platform for the development of football in South Africa, which inspires young people to be active and healthy through their shared passion for football.

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