KATHMANDU, Nov 18: The central-level tournament of the 9th edition of the Coca-Cola Cup 2017 kicked off in Lalitpur on Friday. Jointly organized by Coca-Cola, All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the tournament is the largest grassroots-level school tournament in the country.
Earlier matches of the Coca-Cola Cup were organized in more than 43 districts affiliated to ANFA, featuring more than 35 schools from each district.
The tournament was divided into three levels: district, regional and central. District-level tournament was held simultaneously in 43 districts from July 7 to 28 and the regional-level tournament was held simultaneously in five regions at six venues from August 13 to 25.
In Friday’s game held at ANFA Complex ground at Satdobato in Lalitpur, Bhanubhakta Memorial Boarding School of Morang defeated Rupandehi’s Scholars Home English Boarding School 6-0.
In the second match, Mahendra Memorial English Boarding School of Sunsari and Bal Geetanjali School of Kathmandu drew 1-1.
Likewise, Bal Srijanalaya School of Kathmandu was awarded a 3-0 win over Shree Chandra Jyoti School of Jhapa as the latter was found guilty of violating tournament regulations.
In the last match of the day, Gajurmukhi English Boarding School of Kathmandu drew with Orchid Academy of Nuwakot 1-1.
The tournament, which started in 2063 B.S., offers an opportunity to be scouted for a special training program run by ANFA.
As a part of the program, ANFA scouts watch each match and choose the best players to train at the ANFA Football Academy, where selected players will train with some of the best football coaches in Nepal. These players will also be trained on nutrition and fitness by functional experts invited by ANFA.
The Coca-Cola Cup has been credited to introducing talents who have helped Nepal build a strong national team.
Players like Bishal Rai, Bikesh Kuthu, Rabin Shrestha, Heman Gurung, Bimal Gharti Magar, Aditya Chaudhary, Ananta Tamang and Anjan Bista have all played at the Coca-Cola Cup in the past.
Apart from getting an opportunity to be scouted by ANFA, cash prizes have also been announced for teams and best individual performers. The winners for both the boys’ and girls’ categories will receive Rs 300,000 each, while the first and second runner-up teams will be awarded with Rs100,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.
Coca-Cola has instituted special awards for players and teams who display exemplary sportsmanship throughout the tournament including individual awards for the best goalkeeper, best defender, best midfielder and best forward.