The inaugural Copa Coca Cola Under-16 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament will be hosted in Nakuru County from December 10 to 15 this year.
The tourney, the first to be staged in Kenya, will bring together players from 12 African countries to showcase their football prowess.
Kenya will be represented by this year’s Copa Coca Cola U-16 National boys' champions St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale and Moi Girls Nangili Girls.
Only Kenya and Zimbabwe will present girls’ teams, who open the championship at Nakuru High School on Monday.
The other nations namely Angola, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and hosts Kenya will have their boys' teams pooled in four groups of three teams each playing in a round robin format.
The top two teams qualify for the knockout stages.
“We are delighted to be associated with this platform to harness talent, nurture and give them an avenue to prosper,” Coca-Cola Kenya’s Senior Franchise Brand manager Rodney Nzioka said during the launch at the company’s offices in Upper hill on Tuesday.
The company has one of the longest corporate partners of Fifa with a formal relationship since 1974 and an official sponsorship of Fifa World Cup that began in 1978.
The Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) chairman Peter Orero said they’ve high expectations of reaching the final stages of the competition.
“I know it’s going to come with a lot of surprises but we are hopeful,” said Orero, the Dagoretti high school principal,
“This kind of tournament usually produces quality players, our national team for example is made of most players that graduated from such championships, we look forward to producing more in this event,” he added.
KSSSA secretary general David Ngugi thanked the beverage company for their partnership, whilst assuring participants of a befitting reception.
“Participants start jetting in this Friday to camp in Lanet, we call upon football lovers to turn up in masses and enjoy the youngsters battle it out for individual accolades,” stressed Ngugi.
Sports CS Rashid Echesa is expected to open the showpiece on Monday, while his Education counterpart Amina Mohammed will close the event on Saturday.