NAIROBI, Kenya, June 4 – A contingent of 14 teams representing 19 countries is gearing up to participate at the 2010 Africa COPA Coca-Cola Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa. The youngsters, who represent their country Dream Teams from this year’s COPA, arrived in South Africa on Sunday and are getting ready to kick off the competitive under 17 championship on Saturday.
Last year’s winners, the junior Super Eagles of Nigeria, will be back to defend their title, while the hosts, South Africa will also take part in the tournament.
The line-up also includes full teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Mauritius and Madagascar will combine to form the Africa Invitational Team.
In addition to receiving quality competition and coaching, the upcoming football stars are being tutored in sports science and life-skills. Participants have been provided with access to a wide-range of related activities including team-building, sports psychology and nutrition.
Prior to the start of the tournament the players will be treated to an adventure camp where they will participate in activities such as paintball, white water rafting, abseiling and survival games.
“This is more than just another football tournament,” said Pamela Mutua, the Senior Franchise Brand Manager – Kenya, for Coca-Cola East and Central Africa.
“We want to develop the next generation of top quality players on the continent and equip them with knowledge and life-skills that will last their lifetime,” said Coke senior franchise manager Pamela Mutua.
The organisers have teamed up with the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria to provide the scientific training to the player. Although the HPC facilities will be used by Argentinean team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, scientists will be sent to Germiston Sports Centre in Ekurhuleni to train the youngsters in sports psychology and sports nutrition and conduct strength and fitness testing.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for young players from across the continent of Africa to make friends in an informal way and to learn about other cultures and languages,” said Mutua.