A total of five Chelsea FC Foundation coaches will form part of a special coaching team that will oversee the training of 140 players from 15 countries at the Copa Coca-Cola international camp in Pretoria, South Africa scheduled to run between August 28th and September 8th, 2012.
Robert Luke Udberg, Russell William Banyard, Oliver Stuart Woodall, Shane Jason Hughes, and Dean Aaron Goodman Steninger of the Chelsea Football Club Foundation will travel to South Africa where they will help the young talented footballers train like champs under their tutelage.
Speaking during the announcement, which comes a week before the players depart for South Africa, Coca- Cola East Africa Franchise Manager, Jorsen Patten, hailed the partnership stating that Chelsea FC was built on the strength of the club’s heritage in growing African talent.
“When you think Chelsea, you think of great African football stars such as John Obi Mikel from Nigeria and Michael Essien from Ghana, all reasons to believe in Africa,” said Patten. “Add these to the club’s international team and there’s very little doubt that Chelsea’s strength lies in its diversity, a value that Coca-Cola ascribes to given our global footprint.”
The coaches will take the young footballers through various skill drills designed to help improve their control, shooting, dribbling, and passing. They will also act as mentors to players during the 12-day camp.
Countries taking part in this year’s international camp include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, DRC, Mauritius and Nigeria. Incorporating sports and play, the upcoming stars will get an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of South Africa during their stay.
Each year, COPA Coca-Cola gives hundreds of budding stars an opportunity to refine their skills through inter-country competitions and exposure to world-class football. In 2011, Coca-Cola partnered with the Club in a deal which saw 98 young COPA Coca-Cola footballers from 10 markets travel to Chelsea where they trained in one of the world’s finest football training centres, Cobham. The players not only honed their skills under the guidance of the club’s coaches but also experienced London life and watched a live match pitting Chelsea against Swansea.
COPA Coca-Cola has a long legacy in Africa with a presence of 24 years in Zimbabwe, 19 years in Uganda, 10 years in Zambia and Mozambique, and 5 years in Kenya. Throughout this period, numerous success stories have come from the tournament including Uganda’s Timothy Batabaire who plays in the South African Premier league, Kenya’s Macdonald Mariga who plays for Italian Club Parma FC, Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama who plays for French clucb Lille, Tanzania’s Thomas Ulimwengu who plays for African Champions TP Mazembe, as well as the Zambian Chipolopolo trio Kennedy Mweene, Stoppila Sunzu and Nathan Sinkala.
The tournament originated in Mexico in 1998 and is Coca-Cola’s annual national youth tournament that seeks to support the development of grassroots football talent. Coca-Cola works in partnership with government and/or Football Federations to make the COPA one of the leading events in a country’s soccer calendar. The tournament is open to players aged between 13 and 17 years.
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