Coca-Cola South Africa has backed cricket development through the U-19 Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week for over 30 years. In this time the tournament has seen over 200 Proteas players unearthed. It therefore makes perfect sense that Coca-Cola’s involvement should be extended to include the 20-overs format of the game at school level, to be called the Coca-Cola T20 Schools tournament.
“Having sponsored cricket for so long, the Coca-Cola brand has become synonymous with cricket development,” said Craig van Niekerk, Coca-Cola SA, Marketing Assets Manager. “By including the Coca-Cola T20 Schools tournament into our portfolio we are giving more of South Africa’s youth the platform to be physically active and showcase their talent, to be recognised and to share their achievements, a sentiment expressed by our campaign around the tournament, ‘Show Your Class’.”
The Coca-Cola T20 Schools tournament will become a feeder to the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week, which in turn feeds the U-19 National team. “Sponsors like Coca-Cola, who invest in our youth, make a direct contribution to developing the players that will one day go on to become Proteas players. We sincerely appreciate Coca-Cola’s continued support and for backing the schools T20 tournament,” said Niels Momberg, Cricket South Africa (CSA) Youth Cricket Manager.
In the region of 550 secondary schools around South Africa will participate in the Coca-Cola T20 Schools tournament. The format allows each of the 16 Cricket Unions to stage their own knockout tournaments to identify their provincial champions. A play-off between other champions within their regions will determine which school will represent each of the six franchises in the national finals tournament. This season the finals will be held in the Western Cape in February 2013.
“Over the next few months we are offering our young cricketers a platform to be involved in physical activity, showcase their talent and be recognised,” explained Van Niekerk.
The defending champions are Paarl Boys' High (Boland), representing the Cape Cobras, who beat Knights representatives Northern Cape High School of Kimberley in last year's final in Potchefstroom.
The tournament is still in its infancy with Quinton de Kock, who played for KES in the T20 tournament in 2010 and 2011 and currently with the Lions, now showing his class as he makes waves on his way to becoming a potential Proteas player. Many more players are sure to be unearthed as the Coca-Cola T20 Schools tournament assumes its place in South Africa’s talent identification chain.
The Coca-Cola Company has long standing relationships with sporting events at the highest level, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, and it is the Company’s policy to strengthen sport at the grass roots level. “As well as contributing to cricket development, Coca-Cola South Africa also supports football (U-15 COPA Coca-Cola) and Rugby (Coca-Cola Youth Weeks – U-13, U-16 and U-18 as well as the U-18 Academy Week) making the brand one of the foremost sponsors of sports development in the country.
“The Coca-Cola T20 schools tournament is yet another Coca-Cola programme that aims to both foster the next generation of sporting heroes and get teens to lead active healthy lifestyles,” concluded Van Niekerk.