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Next week the fifth COPA Coca Cola youth tournament that will be starting kicked off on Wednesday May 2nd 2012 with a celebratory press release at the Hilton Hotel. A total of 60 teams of with players under 17 years old when are expected to register for the tournament
COPA Coca Cola is different from other grassroots tournaments in Ethiopia because it has a structure to ensure that people with exceptional talent continue to progress throughout the games even if their team is eliminated early in the completion.
Registered teams play each other from at the city level and in each round, talent scouts select impressive, budding talent and reward them with a trip to the inner-city finals. Awards will be given to the best player, top scorer and winning team.
“This tournament is very important for generating young talented players that can be fed into national clubs. It is also important because it helps small school teams by providing football gear as well as the chance for them to play with other schools,” said Tesfaye Abe, Representative from the Addis Ababa Education Beuraue.
Since it began in Mexico during 1998 it has tried to develop young talent at the grassroots level. Today the tournament occurs in such locations as the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Chile. COPA Coca Cola is organized in 17 African countries including; South Africa, Uganda and Kenya. Ethiopia has been organizing the tournament since 2008.
Raei Melesse, Brand Manager of Coca Cola stated that the scale of the tournament has gone up significantly from 30 participating teams in 2008 to 40 in 2009 and 60 teams in 2012 respectively. “COPA Coca Cola has continued to gain momentum, this year we have planned to register as many teams as possible so that we have a wider pool for talent to search from,” she said.
In the past four annual tournaments COPA Coca Colahas had a problem with getting many people to watch it despite the media coverage it has gotten. This year a big budget TV commercials being aired on the weekend are expected to make a difference in the number of people who will be following the tournament.