By Martin Muleya.

BINDURA, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) -Scores of pupils from schools across the ten provinces of the country descended in the Mashonaland West capital, Bindura for the 28th edition of the Copa Coca Cola Under 15 boys and girls national finals that were won by Rusununguko (Mashonaland East) and Chidyamakono (Masvingo) respectively.

So colorful was the event that started with a cocktail party, vetting of the twenty four participating teams, with each playing receiving a red cap and t- shirt.

Speaking during the cocktail party, Coca Cola Company Activations Manager Vee Chibanda noted that the Copa Coca Cola Under 15 boys and girls soccer tournament had become the country’s flagship football tournament annually. She said her company’s vision was to make the Copa program the world’s biggest and most inclusive grassroots initiative, bringing communities together and encouraging holistic well being.

“Twenty eight years ago this tournament started as a far sighted and ambitious program to develop grassroots football in this country. Today, it has become a global tournament with participation in over 68 countries. The Copa Coca Cola tournament is about keeping a generation of teens active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. It is a powerful grassroots initiative where teens and their development is the core focus,” said Chibanda.

To put icing on the cake, the pupils as well as adults were treated to a memorable entertainment show by Zim-dancehall man of the moment Energy Sylvester Chizanga known in the music circles as Freeman at Trojan Mine stadium.

The 29 year old who also hails from Bindura who came on stage clad in white jeans and shirt highlighted that he was delighted to have been invited by the Coca Cola Company and said through entertaining the spectators who had thronged to watch the boys and girls final matches at Trojan Mine stadium this was also his chance to give back to the community that nurtured him.

The Joina City hit maker rose to fame with a number of singles and albums which won the hearts of both the young and old in Zim dancehall age.

Freeman’s musical career started while he was an abattoir where he met his friend and collaborator Nhubu Wemanuff who helped him record his first song which he admitted did not do well.

He entered the music scene again with his hit ‘Joina City’ which made the chanter overnight. To date the youthful musician has produced songs such as ‘Doctor Wemagitare’, ‘Shaina Mwana Iwe’, ‘Handina Godo’, ‘Mash Central’ and ‘Zvakaipa Dai Ndarega’.

Chibanda reiterated that by bringing Freeman to Trojan Mine to perform before the very crowd that nurtured him in his musical journey, it was upon the realization that young people want an opportunity to play football in a safe, organized and fun environment thus her organization strive to provide precisely that environment.

“Coca Cola’s contribution to football worldwide is unparalleled and its partnerships around the world, in particular with FIFA, have turned football into the universal game that we all know and love. In addition to this, Coca Cola has been the single most consistent supporter of grassroots football, which has helped create a competitive platform for all countries, big and small, rich and poor alike,” added Chibanda.

Copa Coca Cola is the largest brand-supported grassroots football tournament in the world, played in over 60 countries by 1, 3 million teenage players, with the aim of inspiring young people to be active and healthy through their shared passion for the sport.

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