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Airtel returns with Airtel Rising Star Season 5

By Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos on 19/06/2015

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Airtel Communications has announced the return of Africa’s biggest grassroots football tourney, Airtel Rising Star (ARS). Sponsored by telecommunications giant, Airtel, the football tournament which is in its 5th edition is aimed at providing a platform for young and talented footballers to be discovered.

Speaking at a media forum in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, on Wednesday night, Airtel Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya said the ARS is one of Airtel’s ways of giving back to the society. He said the grass root football tournament is the largest football event in Africa.

He said: “At Airtel, we know what you like and we support it. You like education, sports and music that is why we support them. For the past four years we have been sponsoring the ARS this is going to be the 5th, this goes to show our love for giving the youth avenue to shine.

“Unlike our competitors, we don’t focus on one segment; that is why we support education, music and football. That is why recently we brought in Tuface Idibia, Phyno, Pato Ranking, Akpororo and IK, the popular Big Brother Africa presenter and now Yaya Toure as our brand ambassadors.”

Ogunsanya said that Airtel through the ARS will provide good environment and quality coaches to enable the players shine.

On his part, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel, Maurice Newa described ARS as a developmental football program designed to give equal opportunity to the youths who desire to excel in football. He observed that the grass root tourney is open to both male and female participants between the ages of 13 and 17.

In his word: “The future of this country belongs to the youths and for it to be sustained, special focus must be given to this group.”

Manchester City midfielder and current African footballer of the year and brand ambassador of Airtel Africa, Yaya Toure said being a part of the ARS initiative gives him joy. He noted that each time he sees young African kids playing football it reminds him of his days, adding “that makes me always want to encourage them because, back in the days, it was not all rosy but with determination and perseverance I was able to excel.”

The championship is expected to hold between June 22 and September 4, starting with registration and road shows through screenings and zonal championships. To participate in the soccer championship, interested participants are enjoined to dial *246# from an Airtel line to register or visit the nearest Airtel shop to submit their registered forms.

Winning team will be awarded N500,000 including medal and certificate while first runner up will get N250,000 in addition to medals and certificate. The organisers said N25,000 will be awarded to each goals scored during to championship, to be used to develop any school of the finalists choice.  

Three ex-internationals have been appointed to mentor and coach interested participants, they are; the ‘headmaster’ Mutiu Adepoju, Jonathan Akpoborere and former Super Falcons goal keeper, Ann Chiejine.

Some of the known names that passed through the ARS includes; Zahradden Bello (2012) Al Hassan Ibrahim Abdullahi (2012) and Josephine Mattias, Falconets and Pelican Stars of Calabar (2011).

•Photo shows Yaya Toure and Airtel CEO Segun Ogunsanya.

Source News Express

Posted 19/06/2015 08:27:54 AM

 

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