Local schools’ football tournament dubbed Copa Coca-Cola has proved to be a major empowerment arm of soccer and other community developments in Zimbabwe and abroad following an educational material donation witnessed recently.
By Tongai Mwenje
Copa Coca-Cola, a schools’ football tournament that started in Zimbabwe and provided a platform for players like the legendary Peter Ndlovu to announce their arrival on the big stage, has gone a level higher not only empowering soccer talents but also academic talents after the company donated reading materials worthy more than $6,000 to Mzilikazi High School, Hippo Valley High and Churchill.
Started in Zimbabwe, Copa Coca-Cola has now turned into a global show played in more than 60 countries, across five different continents.
And this year the tournament organisers have been touring and donating books to schools that have excelled as part of its 30 year celebrations dubbed the Copa Coca-Cola @30 Trophy Tour.
Speaking on Tuesday during a function organised by Coca- Cola to honour Churchill High School for having won the annual tournament for a record four times, National Association of School Heads (NASH) secretary general Mr Mukoyi lauded the Copa Coca-Cola program for empowering communities through the initiative.
“Coca Cola has done a lot to impart knowledge and skills for example, they have gone further to develop the infranstructure of schools through their Copa Coca Cola program.
“I remember when I went to Deure school I saw a beautiful entrance gate that they had built. Recently we were at Rusununguko and I remember them buying and giving to that school a water system that has transformed the water reticulation system at that school,” Mukoyi said.
The guest of honour, Provincial Education Director Mr Kateera also emphasized the role Copa Coca-Cola is playing in empowering the community through unearthing football talent, citing yester-year soccer stars who came through the tournament’s ranks from Churchill.
“Thank you for the support and for nurturing our young talent in the sporting arena. Copa Coca cola has been with us for a long time and has partnered the ministry of primary and secondary education with an aim to elevate soccer in the communities.”
“A number of players have emerged from Churchill through this program Tinashe Nengomasha, Partson Jaure and Murape Murape, and their exploits are well known. The school to work hard and break through the barrier of 4 wins,” said Kateera.
Coca-Cola Senior Brand Manager Vee Sibanda who was also part of the proceedings said instead of focusing on their primary agenda, football, the company saw it fit this time to compliment that with educational material donation.
“We decided to do something to appreciate the teams that had done well in the competition. But we saw that we can’t give them sports kits because we are already investing in that so we decided to give them books to compliment the education part because we know education is very important for these children,” Sibanda said.
Churchill High School Deputy Headmaster, Doreen Shoko, expressed her gratitude at having received the double
honour- having recognised for winning the tournament four times and books donation.
“We are grateful for the donation made by Coca Cola, it will help us improve our academic side so we are very grateful for that,” said Shoko.
However, Shoko was quick to fire a title warning shots to the other teams, adding that Churchill will soon be back in the trophy picture after having last won the gong in 2008.
“We know it’s been a long time since we last won (in 2008), but good things are coming I think you have seen our teams so we expect to do better next year.”
Churchill High School won the schools’ most prestigious and longest sponsored tournament in 19992, 1994, 2000 and 2008.
The only other high schools to have attained this feat are Mzilikazi High school in Bulawayo and Masvingo province’s Hippo High School.