The Kick It Out Cup draws to a close this weekend, with 40 teams from around the country battling it out for a chance to be managed by a ‘Dream Manager’ in two regional finals.
Former England international and Aston Villa star Earl Barrett will be pitting his managerial wits against Bury defender and ex-Nigeria international Efe Sodje on Sunday as the pair go head-to-head in the northern regional final at Manchester’s Trafford Powerleague.
Meanwhile, Southend United legend and sports choreographer Andy Ansah and former Charlton Athletic star Michael Bennett battle it out in the southern regional final London’s Mill Hill Powerleague on Saturday.
The Kick It Out Cup is a new initiative, run in conjunction with Club Website and Lucozade Powerleague, that gives grassroots teams the unique opportunity to be managed by a football legend.
Since it began on 30 October, the competition - running as part of Kick It Out’s One Game, One Community weeks of action - has seen over 350 teams from across England bidding for a place in the two regional finals taking place this weekend.
Now just 20 sides remain in each area, with the two lucky teams making their way through to the grand final of the northern and southern tournaments set to be coached by ‘Dream Managers’.
Looking forward to the northern regional final, Barrett, now working as an academy coach with Premier League side Stoke City, said:
“The Kick It Out Cup is all about championing equality and diversity through the power of football.
"It is great to see so many teams from across the north of England coming together to compete whilst promoting the Kick It Out cause.
"Efe and myself are both looking forward to taking control of our respective teams on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Ansah, the man behind the Unbelievable Tekkers brand and Wayne Rooney’s ‘Street Striker’, is looking forward to the southern regional final.
“I’m really pleased to be part of The Kick It Out Cup initiative,” he said. “It is a great opportunity to promote equality and diversity in grassroots football whilst youngsters do what they do best, express themselves on the pitch.
"Michael and I go back a long way, but when Saturday arrives, we’ll be fully focussed on the match at hand!”
To find out more about the Kick It Out Cup please click here.