NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3- The second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars talent search program is set to kick off from Thursday during the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) Term 2 ball games.
The search will commence at the provincial finals that run to July 22 and carry on during the national finals set for August at the Shimo la Tewa High School in Mombasa.
Speaking during Tuesday’s, Airtel Brand and Corporate Communications Director Dick Omondi said that the top selected players from 17 African countries will later be hosted in a soccer school camp in Nairobi.
“We are excited to sponsor the second edition this year which will have a bigger and better opportunity for our youth to showcase their flair
“Talents from across Africa will converge here to give them a chance to interact and share their experiences,” added Omondi before he handed the Sh9.5m sponsorship to KSSSA.
KSSSA Secretary General David Ngugi said that the talent search will improve the prospects of the talents in their search for better livelihoods.
“When the likes of Harambee Stars striker Dennis Oliech were discovered many didn’t foresee the possibility of them turning out to be international stars
“If this can be sustained many players will have the chance to make it big in the global scene besides inspiring the rest to follow in their footsteps,” Ngugi stressed.
Enos Oyaya, the acting Education Secretary in the Ministry of Education castigated the recent developments at the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) that saw the suspension of the vice chairman Sammy Sholei on Monday after open disagreements over the body’s constitution.
“The events at that federation doesn’t help the progress of sports that we are all trying hard to accomplish
“It’s sad that the players’ that we nurture in the young age don’t have a platform that can see them grow once they have left school,’ he lamented.
Last year Kenya was represented by four students in the inaugural soccer clinic held in Tanzania where they received training under the tutelage of the Manchester United’s soccer schools coaching staff.
Naim Ashraf from Nairobi’s Milimani High School, Naomi Njeri from Matuu Memorial, Emily Auma from Jera Secondary and Ali Rama from Tononoka got the opportunity to attend the camp.
Ashraf who was present at the event said that the experience was one he will cherish and was delighted that the program was giving an opportunity to others hopefuls this year.
“It was a dream come true as I came face to face with the Man United Legends who impacted a lot of knowledge in me as I seek to achieve their level of expertise,’’ said Ashraf.
At the same time, two local journalists, Sammy Kitula (Nation) and Oscar Pilipili (The Standard) will travel to Old Trafford to watch 19-time English champions, Manchester United play in the Premier League in reward for their commitment to the Rising Stars challenge.