Almost four years after ditching the then popular Coca Cola Cup to venture into grassroots sports development, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) has come good on its promise with another project under its flagship Coca Cola brand. KBL has now partnered with the Botswana Integrated Sports Associations (BISA) to launch a football development programme, which will be known as the Copa Coca Cola. Under the new programme, which was launched this past Thursday at Gaborone Sun, Coca Cola will inject P4.5 million over three years (P1.5 million per year) into the Copa Coca Cola programme.
President of Botswana Football Association (BFA), Tebogo Sebego lauded the partnership as a good start for football in the country. He commended Coca Cola for focusing its attention on football development, especially with professional footballers now reaching their peak in their early 20’s, as shown by players like Lionel Messi and Neymar. Sebego said the BFA was not surprised at Coca Cola’s initiative and was very excited about the Copa Coca Cola project.
“As the BFA, we are excited and we will give this project the necessary technical support,” the BFA President declared.
However, Sebego cautioned that it will take a lot of effort and hard work for the new partnership to bear the expected results. He called upon BISA to work closely with BFA to make the Copa Coca Cola a success. For his part, the local Copa Coca Cola Ambassador, Diphetogo Selolwane, said the timing for the launch of the programme was very fitting as the country and the world is watching the World Cup football spectacle. He expressed hope that the new initiative will be successful and unearth talent just like in South America and Zambia. The former Zebras star said there is a lot of talent in Botswana and expressed confidence that the Copa Coca Cola project will help unearth it.
BISA President, Joshua Gaotlhobogwe said the new programme will be structured in a way that will ensure that young talent is appropriately nurtured. He said Copa Coca Cola will be able to groom the more than 17 000 youngsters who are currently playing under BISA across the country. Gaotlhobogwe said unlike in the past BISA events, there will be age specific competitions under the Copa Coca Cola programme.
“What we realized from the past was that because there was no age difference in competitions, many coaches and schools, in their pursuit of success favored old and physically bigger players over the younger and slightly built players. As such, we lost many talented young players who were not ready to compete against the bigger players,” Gaotlhobogwe explained.
He added that age specific teams will ensure that no talented youngsters are lost in the system. The Copa Coca Cola project kicked off yesterday (Saturday) with youngsters from BISA affiliates competing in the preliminary stages in four different venues across the country.