~MEGHALAYA EMERGE WINNERS IN A KEENLY CONTESTED MATCH AGAINST ODISHA~

The Meghalaya state team captained by Frolicson Dkhar won the national finals of The Coca-Cola Cup (National Under-15 Sub Junior Football Tournament) by prevailing over the Odisha state team captained by Bijay Behera with the final score reading 1-0
40 players from the tournament to be short-listed for National Under-16 football squad, by AIFF (All India Football Federation) technical committee
Over 41,000 young footballers from 2,610 schools across 86 cities competed for the last several months across district, state & zonal levels to qualify for the national finals
The Coca-Cola Cup is a grassroots talent hunt initiated to uncover the most dynamic young footballers in the country and identify potential players for the National Under-16 Sub Junior Football Team

Mumbai, 28th May, 2013: Meghalaya today prevailed over Odisha to win the National Finals of The Coca-Cola Cup (National Under-15 Sub Junior Football Tournament), in a riveting match held at Father Agnels School, Vashi. In a glittering ceremony marking the end of the tournament, the finalists were felicitated by two of the biggest sports icons of the country, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Mr. Sunil Chhetri, Captain of the Indian Football Team, along Mr. Rob Baan, Director, Technical, AIFF, Mr. Scott O’Donnell, Director Academies and Coach Education, AIFF and Mr. Venkatesh Kini, Senior Vice President, Coca-Cola India.

The final playoff organized at Father Agnels Grounds in Vashi saw the Meghalaya team, captained by Frolicson Dkhar, prevailing over the Odisha team with the final score line reading 1-0. Ronaldkydon Lyngodoh from Meghalaya was named the player of the match.

The Coca-Cola Cup will also act as a critical stepping stone for these young footballers with 40 players set to be shortlisted by AIFF (All India Football Federation) technical committee for the National Under-16 football squad. The most promising talents will be picked to be inducted in the Elite AIFF-FIFA Training Academies.

The thought behind The Coca-Cola Cup is to promote football at the grassroots level and provide a platform for the aspirations of budding footballers from across the country. The players have been provided state-of-the-art training and have been coached by some of the most respected names in the industry.

Speaking at the event, cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar said, “I am proud to be associated with The Coca-Cola Cup, which will offer a great platform for budding footballers. I keenly look forward to many of the youngsters seizing this opportunity and showcasing their talent and skills. Emerging sporting persons in the country require similar grass root initiatives and competitive platforms to unlock and realise their true potential.”

Mr. Rob Baan, Director, Technical, AIFF said, “We are proud to be associated with The Coca-Cola Cup which has sought out some of the best talents from around the country and provided them with a stepping stone to build a career in professional football. This tournament has been instrumental in not just providing a platform for budding footballers but also encouraging many others to take to the sport and hence, acting as a catalyst to promote football in the country. Congratulations to the Meghalaya Team who have proven their prowess on the field today. I wish them all the best for the future as they get ready to reach higher echelons of success in the sport and represent the national team someday.”

According to Mr. Venkatesh Kini, Senior Vice President, Coca-Cola India, “The Coca-Cola Cup aims to bring out football talent from the furthest corners of the country. At Coca-Cola India, our motto has always been to promote Active, Healthy Living amongst the youth of the country, and this is an endeavor on that path. The tournament provides these budding footballers with a platform to not just present their skills but also to hone their abilities and build further competence in the sport. On behalf of Coca-Cola India, I would like to congratulate the Meghalaya Team for their well-deserved win today, and wish them good luck for the future. It has been Coca-Cola’s constant endeavor to promote grassroots football and we hope more and more young footballers get to utilize this opportunity and platform in coming years.”

Sunil Chhetri, Captain of the Indian Football Team said, “Being a footballer myself I must say I am truly amazed and inspired by the talent I have witnessed today. I believe that our country has immense football talent that needs to be scouted and given a holistic platform like the Coca-Cola Cup. With the right training and infrastructure, we too can produce world class footballers and it is initiatives like this that re-instate my belief that India could make its mark on the global football map.”‘

Frolicson Dkhar, captain of a visibly excited winning team said, “Winning the national finals of The Coca-Cola Cup for our state is a great moment for us all. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to extend deep gratitude to our coach for guiding us to this win. It feels great to raise this trophy after the sweat and toil of the last few months. Thank you AIFF and Coca-Cola India for organizing this tournament which has provided a much needed platform for young footballers like us.”

The Coca-Cola Cup is a grassroots level football tournament organized by AIFF. The tournament is open to all young footballers in the age group of 12-15 years. This year, The tournament drew participation from over 41,000 young footballers from 2,610 schools across 86 cities.

Details about the Teams

Winning Team

Team name: Meghalaya
Captain: Frolicson Dkhar
Final score: 1
Runners up Team

Team name: Odisha
Captain: Bijay Behera
Final score: 0

More About The Coca-Cola Cup

The Coca-Cola Cup, an annual grass root level football tournament was started by AIFF in 1977 for boys under the age of 15. The initiative aims to discover budding football talent in the country and prepare a strong team for the Under-16 Indian Football team. Coca-Cola entered into partnership with AIFF in 2009, to become official partners of the cup.

The tournament is played in the following formats:

Stage I (District Level): At the district level, inter-school matches are held covering 80 cities/ districts and the stand-out players are chosen for the state level matches.

Stage II (State Level): At the state level, the tournament is played at two legs – Tier 1 and Tier 2. Based on the previous year’s performances, the top 16 teams play at Tier 1. The winner is crowned as ‘The Coca-Cola Cup Champion’. The bottom 16 teams play at Tier 2. From here, the top 2 teams qualify to play for Tier 1 for the next year.

Stage III: AIFF talent spotters identify and short-list 40 promising young footballers who would be coached and groomed to form the National Under-16 Sub-Junior Team.

About All India Football Federation (AIFF)

The All India Football Federation was formed in 1937 and was affiliated to FIFA in 1948. AIFF is one of the founder members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
AIFF is the official football aegis of India that manages, governs, controls and regulates the sport in the country. AIFF manages the competitions such as I-League, Federation Cup, Santosh Trophy and the age-group competition for boys, girls, men and women. On the other hand the federation focuses on the development side of the sport i.e. grassroots, coaching and other technical areas associated with football in India.

About Coca-Cola India

Coca-Cola in India refreshes millions of consumers throughout the country with an exciting range of beverages including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Maaza, Maaza Milky Delite, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange, Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh, Minute Maid Mixed Fruit, Minute Maid 100 % juice (Minute Maid Apple, Minute Maid Orange, Minute Maid Grape), Georgia, Georgia Gold, Kinley, Kinley Club Soda, Burn and Nestea through a network of more than one and a half million outlets. The Coca-Cola India system has invested more than US$ 2 billion in its Indian operations and provides direct employment to more than 25,000 people. For more information and details on the company’s Indian operations please visit: www.coca-colaindia.com and www.myenjoyzone.com