One of the country’s biggest fast food outlets, KFC, has launched a new 5 ÔÇô aside football tournament for kids aged between 10 and 14 years. The tournament, which will kick off on the 21st of June, was officially launched last week Tuesday at the KFC outlet in Rail Park Mall.
The tournament will be modeled alongside Cricket South Africa (CSA)’s KFC sponsored grassroots cricket development project, known as the KFC Mini Cricket League. Speaking in an interview after the launch, KFC Senior Brand Manager for Africa, Sithabile Maphumulo, said the new project will be tailor made for Botswana, though it was adapted from the KFC cricket mini league.
“When we came up with this idea, we wanted to do something which will resonate with the majority of Botswana’s population and football was the obvious choice. We could have gone with cricket but we realized that football is the most popular and will thus be attractive to a lot of kids in this country,” said Maphumulo.
This year’s inaugural event is expected to attract around 95 kids and Maphumulo said the plan is for the event to grow much bigger in future.
“Unlike with CSA’s Mini Cricket league which was in existence when we came on board as sponsors five years ago, this project is an initiative of KFC and we will be starting from scratch. As such, we expect only a certain number of kids for the inaugural event this year,” she said.
She however added that the intention is for this to be the biggest annual event in the country in the next five years.
“In its formative years, we expect it to be an annual event but as time goes on, we would like it to be held as frequently as possible in various locations in the country,” she said.
Going forth, KFC would also like to work with various associations within Botswana’s football fraternity in the project. Maphumulo expressed hope that the project will help unearth future stars and present an opportunity for kids to have fun and make friends. For his part, KFC Brand Manager for Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia, Thabo Ntseoane, said the tournament is part of KFC’s initiative to work with the community, as the fast food outlet has been in the country for a long time now. To make the project even more appealing, Ntseoane said some of the country’s former footballers and current coaches will be involved in the project. Recruitment still ongoing for role models to play a part in the project and KFC will also consider roping in current footballers to come on board and motivate the kids.
Botswana’s KFC ambassadors, artists Eugene Jackson and Charma Girl, will also be actively involved in the project. Youngsters interested in taking part will have to purchase any item on the menu from participating outlets, fill in entry forms and stand a chance to qualify to participate in the final event by testing their skills on an X-Box kinetic gaming console within the outlet. After the first two weeks of entries, top ranking entrants will be notified via SMS and the final participant rosters will be published via social media, radio and print in the week leading to the Football Beat event. The first edition of the KFC Football Beat 5 ÔÇô aside tournament will be held at the Hogs Rugby Club’s Wharic Park in Commerce Park.