Airtel Africa this week unveiled its Pan African soccer tourney – Airtel Rising Stars Africa Soccer Championship – which will provide an opportunity for budding stars to showcase and gauge their raw talent with the best in the continent.
The Championship will be part of the Airtel Rising Stars program, a soccer talent initiative that has focused on identifying and nurturing soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.
The Championships will take place from August 20th to the 25th of August in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. The tournament will comprise of a preliminary qualifying round, a knockout round and a final. A draw will be conducted in Nairobi on August 15 to determine the group stage fixtures while the format of the under-17 tourney will give both boys’ and girls’ teams the chance to assess their team work and individual skills against some of the best nations in Africa.
The football extravaganza will attract teams from some of Africa powerhouses in the under-17 age group – including Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, DRC pitted against upcoming nations such as Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Burkina Faso.
The Airtel Africa championships will be officially opened by Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga while ambassadors representing the other 14 nations that will participate in the extravaganza are also expected to attend. It is expected that over 500 rising stars will travel to Nairobi courtesy of Airtel operations across the continent.
Airtel has confirmed that as part of its partnership with DSTV’s sports channel, SuperSports, the Boys and Girls final matches will be broadcasted live on Saturday August 25, 2012 starting at 0800hrs to 1200hrs CAT.
The final matches will herald the kick-off of two specialised Airtel Rising Soccer Clinics which will be run by soccer coaches from the Manchester United and Arsenal Soccer Schools. The clinics will be held in Nairobi and Accra respectively. The Soccer clinics will provide technical expertise to aspiring stars chosen by top coaches in the 15 African countries. To spice up the clinics, Airtel has announced that the teams that scoop the girls and boys trophies will also attend the soccer clinics.
The Final matches will be followed by a pan African Music extravaganza involving four top artists from the continent. Amongst the artist lined up for the concert are DRC’s Papa Wemba, Nigeria’s 2-Face Indibia, Tanzania’s AY and Kenya’s Daddy Owen.
The Countries that have rolled out the Airtel Rising Stars include Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia
Airtel has two territorial partnership agreements with Arsenal and Manchester United Football Clubs. The two agreements bestow several rights to Airtel as the telecommunication partner in the selected markets. Key amongst the rights is the technical expertise provided by the two clubs at the Airtel Rising Stars soccer clinics. The clinics are run by respective club’s soccer schools program.