Sunday, January 29, 2023

Coca Cola turns on the fizz next weekend

Botswana’s longest running and most lucrative knock-out competition, the Coca Cola Cup, launches this coming Tuesday with the first games expected to kick off during the weekend with cup qualifier play offs.

The Cup, Botswana’s equivalent to the English Football Association (FA) Cup, is the only lucrative cup in the country that pits lower teams against local premier league giants.

Reputed for its jaw dropping upsets, skill and flair, the Cup also gives a platform for some of the country’s upcoming talent to blossom.

Speaking during the Coca Cola Cup Pilediwa, which was convened to discuss and share ideas on how to ‘run the Cup better and improve it,’ Botswana Football Association (BFA) Marketing and Communications Officer, Phakamile Kraii, said the most notable change for this year’s edition will be the inclusion of regional league 3rd Division Champions in the money-spinning competition.
The BFA officer says the new entrants will be expected to battle it out with 1st division runners up from regional leagues in the cup qualifiers for a place in the preliminary rounds. The winners will then be drafted into the Band A category, which comprises of the lowest ranked teams in the competition.

As has been the norm for a while, teams taking part in this year’s cup have been divided into four categories; Category A being the lowest ranked teams while D category is comprised of premier league teams from last season. Category B will be comprised of regional 1st division champions while last season’s top eight teams from the national first division, both north and south, make up the Band C category.

Meanwhile, Kraii informed attendants of the Coca Cola Pilediwa that the organizers of the tournament are looking for ways to solve some challenges that the tournament faced last season. He says some of the challenges include the unbecoming behavior of some club officials, more especially when the tournament reaches its final stages, inadequate monitoring of games in remote areas, which also affects the flow of results as well as the late payment of moneys owed to teams due to teams having no bank accounts.

For his part, BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Judge Mookodi expressed gratitude at Coca Cola sponsorships, saying it has had a very positive effect on the BFA brand and profile as well as in promoting local football stars.

He cited the production of celebratory cans highlighting Coca Cola cup stars in 2005 as an example, saying it helped in building the profiles of players such as Tshepiso Molwantwa, Phenyo Mongala, Modiri Marumo, Pontsho Moloi and many others.

“We would like to see a collection of Coca Cola cup memorabilia suitably presented and preserved for posterity; perhaps a Coca ÔÇôCola Cup Hall of Fame or Coca- Cola Cup Museum,” the BFA CEO added.

Meanwhile, local sports journalists have called for the tournament organizers to consider using local football stars, both playing and retired as the cup’s brand ambassadors and to help avail them to the media for information regarding the tournament. They also called for organizers to look into the issue of choosing the tournament’s best sports journalists, saying the current system of using Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana seems to be flawed. They appealed to the organizers to call MISA in the next meetings to inform them of the process they use to select deserving sports journalist.

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