The 2019 Under-16 COPA Coca-Cola Nationals will take place next week at the Kisumu National Polytechnic, Kisumu County, with the winning teams representing Kenya in the second edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Africa to be held later in the year.
A total of 32 games will be played at the Polytechnic from 30th July to 3rd August 2019.
Last year’s defending champions, both boys and girls, are notably missing from the nationals this year. St. Anthony High School (boys) and Moi Girls Nangili (Girls) were knocked out during the preliminary matches of their regional games held last month in Rift Valley and Western Region respectively.
The 2016 girls’ champions Wiyeta Girls High School (Rift Valley Region) will be seeking to stamp their dominance in the girl’s category after being defeated in the finals last year against the eventual champions Moi Girls Nangili.
The Rift Valley soccer heavyweights have been pooled in group A alongside Dagoretti Mixed Secondary School (Nairobi Region), Njabini Girls Secondary School (Central Region) and Ugari Mixed Secondary School (Nyanza Region).
In group B, the third runners up in last year’s championship, Coastal region champions Waa Girls Secondary School will be playing against Kobala Mixed Secondary School (Nyanza Region), Maeni Girls Secondary School (Western Region) and Itaara Secondary School (Eastern Region).
In the boys category, in Pool A, Goseta Boys High School (Rift Valley Region), will be battling it out against Koyonzo Secondary School (Western Region), Serani Secondary School (Coastal region) and Gatamaiyu High School (Central Region).
In Pool B, Dagoretti High School from Nairobi region will be seeking to win this years’ tournament after an impressive performance in the regional championships. They have been pooled against Agoro Sare Secondary School (Nyanza Region), Machakos Boys High School (Eastern Region) and a representative from the North Eastern Region.
During this year’s tournament, The Coca-Cola System in Kenya embarked on an environmental behaviour change campaign. One school in every region (former provinces) pitches are set to be revamped with the winner being determined by the school that achieves the highest number of kilos.
The national games are a culmination of the Under-16 boys’ and girls’ tournament. A total of 5,400 schools registered and participated for a chance to be inaugurated as the national champions and a direct ticket to the COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup.
The tournament is under the Ministry of Education, in partnership between Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) and The Coca-Cola Company.
The North Eastern Regional Finals will be held at Takaba Secondary School in Mandera from 24th to 26th July 2019. The winning team will then proceed to Kisumu to battle it out for the national title.
Nyanza region as the hosts, will be represented by two girl’s teams since North Eastern region will not be fielding a girls’ team.