Airtel Kenya has today announced that it will launch its annual edition of the Airtel Rising Stars championships on 24th June 2015. The programme focuses on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto the national stage.
Airtel Rising Stars (ARS), an initiative of Airtel across Africa has a wide program that provides a platform for upcoming soccer talent under the age of seventeen to showcase their skills to leading scouts, coaches and have an opportunity to further their football skills. In Kenya, the initiative targets boys and girls in secondary schools across the country.
The two months star search which will conclude with the national finals on 8th August 2015 in Machakos town is expected to draw thousands of spectators from across the country. In the boy’s category, Kisumu Day Boys are planning to redeem themselves in this year’s competition after losing to Kakamega High School in the nationals last year. Defending champions Kakamega High School are preparing to face stiff competition from the likes of former champions Upper Hill, Ofafa Jericho, Kamukunji and upcoming stars Kathungi high schools. First, they will need to get past high ranked teams in Nzoia region (formerly Western province) such as St. Anthony, Musingu Boys and Chavakali high schools.
In the girls category, Butere girls who narrowly beat St. John’s Kaloleni in last year’s finals, will not have an easy ride in the regional championships as they have to beat the likes of Lugulu, and Mukumu gilrls high schools before they encounter their bitter rivals St. John’s Kaloleni, former national champions Olympic Secondary and Tartar girls high schools.
In a statement, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said, “It is yet another year for Airtel to give hundreds of young boys and girls a unique opportunity to nurture their talent in sports through Airtel Rising Stars. We are confident that the programme will continue to provide a platform for scouts, coaches, football authorities and other partners to tap into a vast pool of upcoming talent. The tournament has produced exceptional talented players such as Michael Olunga of Kenya Premier League leaders Gor Mahia. We are confident that the tournament will continue to produce your talented players who will help move the football game to the next level.”
Mr. David Ngugi, the chairman of Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) noted that ARS is a great contribution to building and sustaining a rich pool of football talents in the country. “Airtel’s sponsorship in this tournament underscores the company’s avowed commitment to creating excitement for sports lovers as well as providing empowerment opportunities for Kenyan youths,” added Mr. Ngugi.