Airtel Kenya, in conjunction with the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association(KSSSA), today launched the fourth edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS), an under-17 boys’ and girls’ nationwide football talent search and nurturing initiative at Upper Hill School.
The star search will kick off during this year’s Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association term 2B regional final games that start on the 8th July 2014, culminating in the Africa championships that will be held in Gabon from 20th to 25th August 2014. An exclusive ARS soccer clinic will then follow.
Speaking at the launch event Airtel Kenya Managing Director Adil El Yousseffi lauded the contribution the program has made to improving football in the country and promised the company’s long-term commitment to the course. “Airtel is delighted to be one of the largest supporters of youth soccer in the country and on the continent. Together with our partners, we will ensure it is not just the biggest, but also the most consistent supporter of grassroots football in Kenya. It not only identifies and nurtures talent but most importantly provides a window for young boys and girls to market themselves to several scouts,” said Mr. Yousseffi.
Last year’s national finals held in Embu saw the selection of four students; Gerald John Oketch (Upper Hill School), Mwanahalima Adam Jereko (St John’s Kaloleni), Owuor Lily Awuor (Olympic High) and Ibrahim Mohamed (Kathungi Secondary) who attended this year’s Airtel soccer clinic held in Tanzania. The four had an opportunity to learn firsthand skills and technical courses from experienced coaches that will assist in their growth as football players. The Soccer Clinic also offered them a unique opportunity to socialize with students from other Airtel African countries.
The Airtel Rising Stars initiative was started in 2011 as an annual Africa-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.