The teams participating in the second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars African championship, which is being hosted by Nigeria this year, have begun to arrive for the week-long continental soccer showdown which kicks-off on Monday at the Agege Township Stadium. Several sports personalities, including Robert Pires, will attend Africa’s biggest Under-17 grassroots tournament. His presence will galvanize, without a doubt, the young players who aspire to have a career similar to his.
The Zambian players, who arrived Friday evening, were the first to land on Nigerian soil. Their Ghanaian counterparts jetted into the country a few hours later. The players from Niger, the defending champions in the male category, landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja on Saturday afternoon, along with the team from Congo Brazzaville. More teams are expected to arrive in the country ahead of the Africa’s premier youth football which begins on Monday.
The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 soccer tournament is a unique pan-African initiative of Airtel Africa designed to create a pool of talents to feed the national football teams of African countries.
“Through this tournament, Airtel gives the opportunity to many underprivileged children to achieve their dreams. The tournament provides the perfect platform for them to exhibit their skills in front of millions of people”, says Segun Ogunsanya, the Chief Executive for Airtel Nigeria.
“Thanks to Airtel, many players took the plane for the first time in their lives and they are really excited to compete against the best players on the continent. For one week, these aspiring footballers will live and an amazing adventure and they will cherish these memories forever”.
The Airtel Rising Stars Africa Championships will take place in Lagos, Nigeria from 16 to 22 September 2013. The best players of the tournament will participate in football clinics under the supervision of the best coaches of the Arsenal FC and Manchester United soccer schools. The clinics will be held in April 2014 in Lagos (Nigeria) and Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo).