Like most teenage boys who grew up in football passionate communities such as Ga-Rankuwa township in Pretoria, Lucky Lekgwathi played football regularly with his friends at school.
The former Orlando Pirates captain is just one of the thousands of current and former footballers who were identified at school level. Having played at the highest level, Lekgwathi believes school’s football laid the perfect foundation for him and continues to do so for young and aspiring footballers.
The new COPA Coca-Cola ambassador, who captained the buccaneers to two historic trebles believes the teenage phase is the most sensitive and crucial period of development. He applauds Coca-Cola for partnering with the South African School’s Football Association (SASFA) in the successful roll out of the COPA Coca-Cola U15 tournament.
Lekgwathi, who is travelling the lengths and breaths of the country through the ongoing COPA Coca-Cola Provincial Finals, said without the foundation of school’s football tournaments like COPA Coca-Cola the country would struggle to produce quality footballers.
“I was identified playing football at Botse Botse High School where I attended school in Soshanguve, Pretoria. We travelled to other townships to compete against several players who also went on to play professionally like I did. From an early age, we were accustomed to playing against schools from surrounding communities which challenged us and prepared us for the bigger football stage,” said Lekgwathi.
The former footballer also highlighted the important life-skills instilled by Coca-Cola at school level, mentioning how the brand is playing a crucial role in assisting schools in grooming well-rounded quality footballers, both on and off the field.
“What many people don’t realise is that school’s football is the bedrock of talent identification. Academy clubs play an important role in polishing talent, but the critical foundation is developed in your teenage years during school. It is during this phase that Coca-Cola instils important attributes such as respect, teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play which are equally important outside of football,” concluded Lekgwathi.
As the thrilling tournament continues, the next stop for the COPA Coca-Cola Provincial Finals will be in Polokwane on Friday, 9 August before travelling to the rest of the country to determine the nine schools who will compete in the COPA Coca-Cola National Championships.
Upcoming COPA Coca-Cola Provincial Finals Dates:
|9 August 2019||Limpopo||Northern Academy|
|17 August 2019||North West||Mogwase Stadium|
|24 August 2019||KZN||King Zwelithini Stadium|
|31 August 2019||Free State||Loubser Park, Kroonstad|
|7 September 2019||Gauteng||Mohlakeng Stadium|
|18 – 21 September||National Finals||King Zwelithini Stadium|