Castle Lager is bringing the inaugural Castle Africa 5s five-a-side football tournament to Zambia, where the finals will be hosted.
The tournament has the backing of one of the world’s greatest athletes from Africa, former Cameroonian National Team striker Samuel Eto’o, who is a four-time recipient of the African Footballer of the Year award and has played in three World Cup tournaments.
The competition has been hailed as the biggest five-a-side contest ever held in the continent and will be played across six different countries – South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The popularity of five-a-side football, a variation of association football in which each team fields five players, has grown considerably in recent years and is now played by millions across the globe.
Castle Lager has sponsored football on the African continent for over 60 years and continues to provide fans with the opportunity to live out their passion for the beautiful game through this unique and exciting five-a-side tournament.
Fans have an opportunity to not only represent their country in a continental showpiece competition, scheduled to take place between February and the end of May, but can also use their skills to net a trip to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Castle Africa 5s tournament is aimed at giving more amateur players a chance at making it in football.
The tournament will involve amateur teams from around Zambia, who will then meet other five southern central African countries teams from South Africa‚ Lesotho‚ Zimbabwe‚ Swaziland and Tanzania.
The winning teams from the six countries will compete in the continental finals in Zambia at the end of May, and the best team will be on their way to Russia to watch the World Cup. The competition is open to male and female players.
Eto’o will make an appearance in the tournament to drum up support for the teams participating in the finals in Zambia.
The 36-year-old former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea star, a four-time recipient of the African Footballer of the Year award, played in three World Cup tournaments.
As one of the world’s leading footballers, Eto’o won 14 major trophies, including the prestigious UEFA Champions League on three occasions, twice with Barcelona and once with Inter Milan. He is such an inspirational figure to up-and-coming African players.
The tournament is the first of its kind and is set to become a hub of where friendships will be created, nurtured and cemented on the football field.
After the official announcement was made, Eto’o had described the opportunity to be a part of the campaign as a privilege, stating: “It is an honour to be part of this initiative, whereby communities are provided with a rare opportunity to form bonds on the field of play and across borders.I have formed amazing friendships around the globe on the football field and now fans stand a chance of reliving my experiences”. Eto’o said.
Also excited about the launch is Zambian football legend, Chris Katongo who is an African Cup of Nations winner as well as a recipient of the 2012 BBC’s African Footballer of the Year award. Katongo was revealed as one of five ambassadors, each representing the respective home countries.
“I am so happy to be part of this campaign. CastleLager is known across the continent as the preferred beer when enjoying a game of football, a sport which I am so passionate about! Further to that, Castle Lager is known as a friendship beer that brings people together and indeed it has; I can now count the legendary Eto’o as a friend as well as the other ambassadors from different parts of the continent. I have formed close bonds with them since the start of the Castle Africa 5’s. I’m also looking forward to the continental finals which will be hosted right here in Lusaka, Zambia where I will get to share a Castle Lager with them again.” joked Katongo. ”As the host country of the tournament’s finals which will take place between the 25th – 28th of May 2018, I would like to encourage mass participation from my fellow Zambians .
Similarly to Katongo, the other four ambassadors are also esteemed footballers who enjoyed rewarding careers whilst playing the game – Lehlohonolo Seema (Lesotho), Tinashe Nengomasha (Zimbabwe), Siza Dlamini (Swaziland) and Ivo Mapunda (Tanzania).
Castle Lager’s Zambian Director Jose Moran, welcomed the campaign and shared the same sentiments and delight as Katongo, stating: “Castle Lager has been dubbed as the friendship beer for a reason as it has fortified the bonds of belonging and true friendship. Social football is in our view, an ideal platform to sustain these significant societal interactions.” “We are excited to grow our footprint in the continent through this five-a-side tournament, which is a progressive, fast paced and accessible way to play the beautiful game”. Moran concluded.
The CASTLE AFRICA 5s tournament is open to players from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland; South Africa and Tanzania, who have been tasked with forming five-a-side teams with their friends to play the beautiful game, build close circles of camaraderie and share a round of the friendship brew! The final will be played in Lusaka between the 25th to the 28th of May 2018.