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Airtel Returns With Rising Stars 2: Promise Bigger, Better Grassroots Football.



Leading Telecommunication Service provider, Airtel Nigeria today announced the commencement of the 2edition of Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 male and female tournament, a grass-root football talent search programme aimed at identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.

The commencement of the second edition of the ARS, an Africa – wide grassroots tournament underscores the company’s avowed commitment to creating excitement for sports lovers as well as providing employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.  Speaking on the commencement of the 2012 edition of the Airtel Rising Stars, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava said the soccer initiative is the company’s contribution to sports development and youth empowerment in Nigeria which, according to him, brought immense honour to Nigeria before the global community.

‘’Considering the positive impact, immense value and empowerment opportunities the maiden edition of the ARS programme created for hundreds of thousands of youth across the Nigerian Federation, Airtel Networks Limited has decided to stage a second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars programme. This year’s edition of the programme will be called the Airtel Rising Stars 2 and it will be Bigger, Bolder and Better in all ramifications’’,

He also added that the ARS tournament is Airtels’s contribution to building and sustaining a rich pool of football talents for future national teams, saying Nigerians have globally acclaimed passion for football, whether is street soccer, school soccer, or structured national leagues. Srivastava further expressed optimism in the capacity of the ARS to provide a platform for the discovering and nurturing of young football talents to stars. According to him, grassroots football is the future of Nigerian national teams, male and female, and as such must be given all the attention it deserves.

The Chief Operating Officer also revealed that two outstanding players in the male category from the maiden edition of the ARS, Muritala Lawal and Chibuzor Obasi, had been called in Abuja. This year’s edition of the ARS U-17 will cover most states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Unlike the maiden edition, ARS 2 will run in a league format with activations over six stages and will include intra-state, state championship league, national tournament, inter-country camp and national tour.

Beginning  with intra – state leagues, the ARS 2 train will move to the inter – state zonal champions leagues phase from where winners of state championships will slug it out with one another to determine the zonal flag bearer at the Lagos Tournament. A total of eight male and female teams covering eight zones will participate at the National finals. The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Tourney, a unique pan Africa initiative to provide support for the development of football talents across her African markets. It aims at discovering talented students (male and female) of secondary school age and providing them the opportunity to gain football skills and develop into renowned stars.

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