All is set for the national finals of the second season of Airtel’s colts’ football initiative, Airtel Rising Stars (ARS). This follows the completion of the two zonal competitions in Kumasi and Cape Coast. After the zonal contests, the Brong-Ahafo regional team won the Zone 1 event which also involved regional teams from Ashanti, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. The Zone II event was won by the Volta Region. Corporate Relations Manager of Airtel Ghana, Kwame Gyan disclosed in a release that the two winning regional teams would be joined by two select-sides from each zone as well as their female teams who will then compete for honours in the national finals to be held in Accra from the 3rd to the 6th of July. “The Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) initiative is being run in close collaboration with the Ghana Football Association and the National Juvenile Committee in particular and they have done a great job by picking young talents who have what it takes to make it into our national teams going into the future; from the level of football we have seen thus far, we believe that the national finals in Accra will be very competitive”, Mr. Gyan said. Mr. Gyan explained that after the national finals in Accra, the two winning teams – male team and female team will participate in an inter-country tournament to be staged in Nairobi Kenya. Six of the best players, 4 boys and 2 girls, will also take part in a one-week football clinic in – in a country yet to be disclosed to help develop their skills. Mr. Gyan added that “this year’s competition has been an improvement over last year’s and Airtel Ghana is happy to be contributing to the rejuvenation of colts’ football and the discovery of new talents that will ultimately benefit the nation”, he said. Making reference to the growth of Priscilla Otchere, the current captain of the national under-17 female team, Mr. Gyan said Airtel is hopeful that a lot more talent would be identified for the nation. Nii Odartey Lamptey, ex-Black Stars player and one of Airtel Rising Stars ambassadors commended Airtel Ghana for introducing the initiative last year and continuing with it. According to him, colts’ football needs a lot of support, it is thus important for corporate Ghana to take a cue from Airtel’s support and help nurture new talents. “When most of us started, we did not get some of the support like these lucky young ones are getting now; we keep telling them to be disciplined and be grateful for their chance”, the 1991 U-17 World Cup winner said. Airtel Rising Stars is a sports talent initiative introduced by Airtel that seeks to discover and nurture talented under-17 year male and female footballers. The initiative runs in all Airtel operations across Africa and seeks to bring to light the skills of young and talented footballers by giving them the platform to become world class football stars. The national finals are scheduled in Accra from Tuesday July 3 to Friday July 6.]]>
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