The format of Copa Coca-Cola Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) Football Tournament has changed to allow secondary schools compete as individual entities up to the national finals.
Previously, the best players from various schools formed select sides that represented education divisions at national level.
But during the official launch of the competition’s 50th edition at Zomba Police Ground on Sunday, Coca-Cola senior brands manager Titha Mbilizi said the arrangement has been changed.
“Now this competition is an Under-15 schools tournament up to the national finals,” she said.
“We believe this will give an opportunity to more youths to enjoy the competition up to national finals unlike in the past when a few selected pupils had that chance. Moreover, this would bring a sense of pride to the successful school teams and the competition will be more exciting because individual schools have ample time to frequently train together for gelling purposes.”
Mbilizi said being a year for Fifa World Cup in Russia, where Coca-Cola is the official sponsor, they have increased the competition’s sponsorship to K50 million from last year’s K46 million.
Massa president Harris Kachale thanked Coca-Cola for being a true partner of soccer development in schools by sponsoring the annual competition for 50 years.
Sports director in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Jameson Ndalama, who was the guest of honour at the launch, appreciated the big role the competition has played in nurturing the country’s soccer stars.
“We cannot talk of history of football in Malawi without mentioning Copa Coca-Cola. This competition has done a great job in terms of unearthing hidden football talent in the country. As government, we will continue providing the necessary support that the competition deserves,” he said.
During the launch, Castel Malawi Socials and Zomba Socials football teams played out a two-all draw while a select side of last year’s event beat the side comprising of the current select squad 1-0. n