Airtel expands Rising Stars Championship in Africa

Posted: August 16, 2012 in general

Airtel Africa, Monday, unveiled a Pan African soccer tourney, the Airtel Rising Stars Africa Soccer Championship, which is expected to provide an opportunity for budding stars to showcase and gauge their raw talent with the best in the continent.

In Nigeria, the programme which enters Season Two, was capped last month with the official unveiling of the five winners during the visit of the Arsenal First Team to Nigeria at the Eko Hotel and Towers, Lagos. The Championship will be part of the Airtel Rising Stars programme, a soccer talent initiative that has focused on identifying and nurturing soccer talents from the grassroots onto a national stage.

The Championships which will take place from August 20 to 25, in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital city, will comprise a preliminary qualifying round, a knockout round and a final.

A draw will be conducted in Nairobi on the 15th of August to determine the group stage fixtures. The format of the under 17 tourney will give both boys’ and girls’ teams the chance to assess their team work and individual skills against some of the best nations In Africa.

The football extravaganza will attract teams from some of Africa powerhouses in the under-17 age group such as Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, DRC pitted against upcoming nations such as Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Burkina Faso amongst others.

The Airtel Africa championships will be officially opened by Kenya’s Prime Minister, The Rt.Hon. Raila Odinga and will be graced by Ambassadors representing the other 14 nations that will participate in the extravaganza. It is expected that over 500 rising stars will travel to Nairobi courtesy of Airtel operations across the continent.

Speaking about the inaugural Africa Championships, Airtel Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers said: ‘’The Airtel Africa Championship is a natural product of the exciting and dazzling skills which we have seen showcased in the on-going Airtel Rising Stars initiative. The tournament provides the perfect melting pot of talent, cultures and passion exhibited during the Airtel Rising across Africa.”

He added: “By designing a bigger stage for the teams and future stars, Airtel is sending a message to the participants, coaches, soccer enthusiasts on our long term support for sports and activities that empower and celebrate talent.”

Airtel has confirmed that as part of its partnership with DSTV’s sports channel, SuperSports, the Boys and Girlsfinal matches will be broadcasted live on August 25.

The Final matches will herald the kick-off of two specialised Airtel Rising Soccer Clinics which will be run by soccer coaches from the Manchester United and Arsenal Soccer Schools. The clinics will be held in Nairobi and Accra respectively. The Soccer clinics will provide technical expertise to aspiring stars chosen by top coaches in the 15 African countries. To spice up the clinics, Airtel has announced that the teams that scoop the girls and boys trophies will also attend the soccer clinics.

The Final matches will be followed by a pan African Music extravaganza involving four top artists from the continent. Amongst the artist lined up for the concert are Congolese crooner Papa Wemba, Nigerian Artist Tuface, Tanzanian Rapper AY and Kenyan Gospel artist Daddy Owen.

Countries that have rolled out the Airtel Rising Stars include Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Airtel has two territorial partnership agreements with Arsenal and Manchester United Football Clubs. The two agreements bestow several rights to Airtel as the telecommunication partner in the selected markets. Key amongst the rights is the technical expertise provided by the two clubs at the Airtel Rising Stars soccer clinics. The clinics are run by respective club’s soccer schools programme.

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