The Public Affairs and Communications Director for Coca-Cola Middle East, Antoine Tayyar, Director of Marketing and Communications at Qatar Football Association Khalid Al Kuwari, and Coca-Cola Bottling Company official Mohamed Akeel at a press conference in Doha yesterday.
Doha: COPA Coca-Cola, the international youth football tournament strikes excitement in the nation, as it returns for the third successive year, on March 15.
Teenagers all over the country are gearing up to participate in the annual competition, and potentially be spotted to represent the national team when the FIFA World Cup comes here to Qatar in 2022.
As a result of the great work that COPA has done to raise the profile of football amongst youths and encourage young people to get into the sport in this region, it was recognized as an officially endorsed competition by FIFA in 2013.
Through strategic partnerships with FIFA, and local endorsement from the Qatar Football Association, COPA Coca-Cola is proactively shaping the future generation of football heroes.
COPA Coca-Cola not only promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, but also seeks to plant seeds of respect, team spirit, and friendship, as the player’s blossom into able combatants armed with what it takes to represent their country in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Commenting on the official launch of the 2014 tournament, Antoine Tayyar, Public Affairs and Communications Director for Coca-Cola Middle East, said: “COPA Coca-Cola is a stellar example of how The Coca-Cola Company embodies its time-honored ethos to live positively and open happiness. Through this program, the youth are empowered to achieve their dreams while learning about team spirit, respect, and the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. By 2022, we hope to see our Arab COPA players representing their countries at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.” Akeel Mohamed, of Coca-Cola Bottling Company, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with the Qatar Football Association yet again, following a successful tournament last year. We look forward to discovering what new heroes the tournament will fish out from our local talent pool.”
In an attempt to promote healthy living and the participation in an active lifestyle, the Coca-Cola Company set up COPA Coca-Cola in Mexico in 1998.
Since then, the tournament has gained so much momentum that it is now played across five continents.
In 2009, Nigerian teenager Mikel Agu was a participant in COPA Coca-Cola, and went on to represent FC Porto in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
Coca-Cola Middle East introduced the COPA Coca-Cola chapter to the region for the first time in 2012, with tournaments taking place in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.
Teams of eleven players aged 13-15 compete on professional sized fields, in accordance to the rules and regulations of FIFA.
The winning team will have the chance to represent their country in a regional final tournament later in the year and ‘Become a Hero’.
Anticipation for Copa Coca-Cola runs rampant; as teens from all walks of life are united under a common passion for football that surpasses geographical boundaries. This grass roots initiative stands for a lot more than just sportsmanship though, it’s about providing the youth with the opportunity to really be a part of something and even more so, perhaps provide the catalyst that would make their dreams of becoming professional footballers, come true.The Peninsula