Mangalore hosts the Coco Cola Cup for second time

The trophy, which was instituted in 1977 is an initiative of the All India Football Federation to discover budding football talent in the country and prepare a strong team for the under-16 Indian Football team.

From the 2009-10 season onwards, the trophy is being sponsored by Coco Cola and was hence rechristened as Coco Cola Cup for Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy.

The format of the tournament also changed where in there would be a four group qualifiers before two teams from each group qualifying for the National Finals. The host team and the defending champions would get a direct entry into the National finals.

All the State Football Associations have to conduct the Inter-School or Inter Club or Inter District Tournaments to select players for the state team. In case of big states, this may be restricted to few cities. However, the boys from other districts may be included in the final selection, if found deserving.

In Karnataka, four cities namely, Bangalore, Mysore, Dharwad and Mangalore are hosting the preliminary rounds. From the prelims, Zonal teams will be selected and the selected boys from the zonals will constitute the state team for the national championship.
The state teams will be grouped in to four zonesand the winners and runners-up from each group and the last year winners and host team will play the final round of the national championship.

Kodagu might be the one
Coco Cola Mir Iqbal Trophy South Zone Manager Tarun Pawar said that two more cities in Karnataka would get chance to host the prelims of the Coco Cola Cup. He hints that Kodagu will get a chance for hosting the cup.

“In future, we are planning to spread the preliminary rounds in all districts that have District Football Associations. Players from places like Kolar which sans District associations will have some problem in participating in the tournament, but they can participate in the prelims conducting at other districts”, he said.

Around 40000 players under the age 16 from 2,500 schools of 76 to120 cities spread across 27 states are expected to participate in the current edition of the championship.

The trophy provides young footballers with an opportunity to showcase their talent and to be a part of the India Under-16 Football Team. During the final rounds, AIFF talent spotters will identify and short-list 40 promising young footballers who would be coached and groomed to form the National Under-16 Sub-Junior Team.

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