Posted on May 05, 2013

In partnership with the Qatar Football Association (QFA), COPA Coca-Cola, the grassroots football initiative for teenagers will return to Qatar for the second year in succession when the tournament arrives at the North Madinat Khalifa Ground, Doha on Friday 10th May.

Teams of eleven players aged 13-15 will compete on professional sized fields according to the rules and regulations of FIFA, and will battle it out for the right to be crowned COPA Coca-Cola Champions of Qatar.

In an attempt to help 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 gone from strength to strength and is now played across five continents. In 2009, Nigerian teenager Mikel Agu was a participant in COPA Coca-Cola, and has gone on to represent FC Porto in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

Coca-Cola Middle East introduced the COPA Coca-Cola program to the Region for the first time in 2012, with tournaments taking place in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. The winners of last year’s competitions were taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Using football as the platform, QFA supports this youth engagement initiative as it will facilitate access to more football in a non-competitive environment in order to support the excitement of an active and healthy lifestyle amongst Qatar’s youth.

Commenting on the official launch of the 2013 tournament, Mohammed Akeel – Managing Director (Bahrain & Qatar) of Coca-Cola Bottling Company said: “Through football, the world’s most popular sport, Coca-Cola identified a need to connect with the youth who aspire to be professional soccer players. Thus, we brought about this new grassroots initiative to the Middle East that reiterates the pillars that the Coca-Cola Company believes in.

“Encouraging young Arab football players to participate in COPA Coca-Cola is important to Coca-Cola, because it acts as a stepping stone for the professional leagues. By 2022, we hope to see our Arab COPA players representing their countries at the World Cup in Qatar.”

Mr. Khalid Al Kuwari, Director of Marketing and Communications, Qatar Football Association, comments: “We are delighted to be partnering with Coca-Cola Middle East for the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola tournament in Doha given that this tournament is in line with this year’s H.H. Emir Cup 2013 vision to encourage the public to participate in the different local football tournaments that are organized by QFA and its partners.This initiative represents a good opportunity for young Qatari players to showcase their talents, and it represents a continuation to our vision and strong will to support and harness young Qatari talents.”

COPA Coca-Cola is another initiative that exemplifies Coca-Cola’s longstanding ethos to live positively and open happiness. Youth are empowered to achieve their dreams and spread happiness while taking onboard goals they thought was never possible. Through Coca-Cola efforts, the youth of today can become professional football stars tomorrow.

Today, COPA Coca-Cola has touched the lives of more than 600,000 students through at least 10,000 schools and/or youth club teams in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

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Qatar Airways now flies 3 times a week to Yangon, Myanmar