NAIROBI, Kenya, August 2- Six outstanding players at this year’s national Airtel Rising Stars tournament will be selected to join the Manchester United football camp to be held in Nairobi later this month.
The national games will run in Mombasa from August 7 to 11 where the boys’ title is expected to be closely contested at Shimo la Tewa and Shanzu teacher’s colleges.
Next week’s event in Mombasa will bring together two past winners, Kakamega High School and St Anthony, each seeking to dethrone defending champions Gekomoni while last year’s runners up Tononoka will be counting on home ground advantage for a maiden win.
Other teams include Upper Hill, Tetu, Kibirichia and Garissa. The girl’s category will feature Olympic, Ibinzo, Tartar and Gataragwa. Other provincial representatives include Chogoria and Kobala.
Former Harambee Stars coaches Mohammed Kheri and Twahir Muhiddin will spearhead the search of the six who will be invited to join the Manchester United training camp supported by among others, former players Andrew ‘Andy’ Cole and Quinton Fortune who were in the country in May to drum up support for the initiative.
Last year’s final held in Nairobi saw the selection of four students; Naim Ashraf from Nairobi Milimani High School, Naomi Njeri from Matuu Memorial School, Emily Auma from Jera Secondary School and Ali Rama from Tononoka High School to attend the Manchester Unites soccer School.
Airtel Kenya Communications Director Dick Omondi said the mobile phone company had decided to raise the profile of the Airtel Rising Stars national finals by increasing the training opportunities for Kenyan players.
“These camps offer an invaluable experience and a lifetime opportunity for our budding talent to interact early with trainers from a world-class team. The tactics and lessons learnt will definitely propel these boys and girls to the world stage at the onset of their football careers,” he stressed.
“We expect the standards to be very high this time. The level of skill exhibited at the provincial level coupled with the incentives put forth by Airtel promise to make the nationals very competitive,” said David Ngugi, the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Secretary.
Part of the action at the nationals will be aired on pay-tv DSTV channel SuperSport 9 East. Under the agreement, DSTV will broadcast select matches from Airtel Rising Stars events across Africa.