Airtel telecommunication service provider in Kenya launched the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) 2017.
The launch was held in Machakos Boys High School in association with the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA).
Airtel Rising Stars has over the years been recognized as arguably Kenya’s largest under-17 soccer tournament that focuses on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.
Marking the 7th edition of the Airtel Rising Stars talent search programme, this year’s tournament will run from 13th June to 8th July.
The regional games will be taking place between 13th and 30th June whereas the nationals will run from 3rd to 8th July.
The tournament kicks off at the onset of the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association term 2B regional games.
ARS which attracts over 4,000 schools each year provides a platform to reach over 2 million students actively through the matches played across various parts of the country.
The tournament will be held across 8 regions namely, Eastern (Machakos Boys), Nairobi (Lenana Boys), Mombasa (Kilifi Township), Central (Muranga TTC), Western (Bungoma Boys), Rift Valley (Kabarnet High), Nyanza (Maranda High) and North Eastern (Garissa High).
Since inception in 2011, Airtel Rising Stars has successfully grown over the years; it is an annual Africa-wide program that provides a platform for upcoming soccer talent 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.
Speaking at the launch event, Pallab Majumder, Marketing Director, Airtel Kenya said, “Our belief and commitment to the youth of this nation continues to propel us to support them through this tournament.
Through ARS we aim to create opportunities for the youth to not only nurture and grow their talents but to also get recognition by other industry players that can offer even better chances of playing in the other national and international tournaments.”
Notable talents that have been part of Airtel Rising Stars over the years include Eric “Marcelo” Ouma who now plays for Fc Kolkheti , Michael Olunga who debuted in the Chinese Super League side Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng FC early this year and Mwanahalima Dogo Adam, the Harambee Starlets forward who was named the Most Promising Girl in the 2017 SOYA Awards held in January.
Mr. David Ngugi, the Secretary General of Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) lauded the contribution ARS has made over the years to ensure that the youth in the country are given a platform to showcase their talents and skills.
“We are very grateful for the ARS initiative that Airtel has gladly sponsored over the years. ARS has to offer young boys and girls the opportunity to express their talent through this platform where many of them stand the chance to be recruited by national and even international football clubs; I truly believe that by placing emphasis on the youth, we will be able to make significant achievements in the near future, we look forward to continue working with Airtel in ensuring success of this program.”