The 2014 edition of the global grassroots youth football tournament, COPA Coca-Cola, will kick off tomorrow at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
The tournament which has been running in the country for over 7 years will be launched at a colourful ceremony which will be graced by high ranking county officials, members from the Football Kenya Federation as well as representatives from tournament sponsors, Coca-Cola.
Six boys and four girls teams from Mwingi, Kitui, Makueni and Machakos Counties who make up the extensive Southern Branch will contest for the honours on the day.
“We are ready for kickoff. Everything is set and we are inviting fans from Machakos County and beyond to come in large numbers and rally behind their teams,” said tournament Coordinator, Gerald Chege.
The 6 boys’ teams who will aim to have a good start to their 2014 campaign include Sultan Hamud and Makueni Boys from Makueni County, Machakos Talent and Machakos Youth from Machakos and Kitui Stars and Mwingi All Stars from Kitui County. Kyanika Girls from Kitui County will renew their longstanding rivalry with Makueni based Makueni Red Shooters in the girls’ category which also has Machakos Girls and Matithini Girls.
Entry to the stadium will be free. Fans attending the day-long games will be treated to a host of gaming and entertainment led by local boy Ken Wa Maria. Mejja will also perform with comedian Chipukizi MCing the event.
Games will also kick off in North Coast and North Rift branches.
This year’s COPA Coca-Cola tournament will be played in a round-robin format with the winners and runners-up qualifying for the advanced stages of the tournament as they build up for provincial and national finals which will see them test their resolve against teams from other regions. Nairobi County are the defending Champions after JMJ Academy and Otto Benecker won the boys’ and ladies’ national titles.
Meanwhile there will be an exhibition match between Kenya Sports Journalists (KSJ) and a locally-based team. KSJ have upped the tempo in their training at the Nairobi University with the scribes to take home the grand prize after losing out last year to Wazee wa Kazi at City Stadium. The two teams will be fully kitted by Coca-Cola.
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