Airtel hook up Akpoborie, Adepoju, Chiejine for Rising Stars Season 5

Leading Telecommunications Services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has announced the commencement of the 5th edition of Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 male and female tournament.

Airtel Rising Stars is a grass-root football talent hunt programme aimed at identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent in the country.

At a press briefing held in Lagos to announce the tournament, the Telco also announced ex Super Eagles stars, Mutiu Adepoju, Jonathan Akpoborie and former Falcons goalkeeper, Ann Chiejine, as the technical advisers for the tournament.

Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, who spoke to a gathering of journalists and top sports personalities, including reigning African Footballer of the year, Yaya Toure, noted that the soccer initiative is the company’s contribution to building and sustaining a rich pool of football talent for the national teams.

According to Ogunsanya, Airtel is committed to creating opportunities that will provide a ladder for talented young boys and girls to climb to stardom, also noting that the Telco is passionate about unlocking the potentials of exceptionally talented Nigerian youth.

“Airtel wants to be an integral part of local communities and our association with football has strong elements of creating positive change and engagement. ARS is our contribution to building and developing grassroots football in Nigeria,” he said.
While highlighting the success of the tournament in the past four years, the Airtel CEO also noted that the initiative has provided strong platforms for empowering exceptionally talented boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17.

”It is on record that the Airtel Rising Stars Football has produced exceptional talents some of whom are: Musa Mohammed Shehu - Captain Golden Eaglets U17- (ARS 2011); Zahradden Bello- U17- ARS (2012); AL Hassan Ibrahim Abdullahi- U17- ARS (2011); Muri Lawal- Sunshine Stars FC Akure- ARS (2011) and Josephine Mathias- Falconets, Pelican Stars FC Calabar - ARS (2011),” he said.

Registration commenced on Monday, June 22, 2015 and kids who intend to participate will be required to dial *246# to register. Thereafter, they can obtain the physical forms from any Airtel Shop nationwide for their parents to append their signatures as consent. On registration, they will also receive sports news and alerts on their favorite football clubs from this short code for 30 days.

The tournament will be played in three regions across the country, culminating in the National Finals, a three-day soccer fiesta. Thereafter, the outstanding players will attend a special football clinic to be facilitated by top sports coaches and ex internationals.

As part of the talent development plan, the ex-internationals will offer technical support and advisory services to the youngsters, beginning with Open Screening Camps where the participants will be screened for age compliance and given the opportunity to showcase their talents, to the National Finals where they will challenge for honors.

With over 70,000 active participants in the last 4 seasons, ARS enjoys the label of being the biggest youth tournament in Africa, with endorsement and support of football bodies such as Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Arsenal Football Club and Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF).

The national finals of the tournament will take place between August 27 and 29, 2015 and is expected to draw thousands of participants across the country.

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