Airtel Africa yesterday unveiled a Pan African soccer tourney dubbed Airtel Rising Stars Africa Soccer Championship, which will provide an opportunity for up-and-coming stars to display and gauge their talents.
The tournament, scheduled for August 20 to 25 in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, will be part of the Airtel Rising Stars program, a football talent-search initiative focusing on identifying and nurturing soccer talent from foundational to national stage.
It will include a preliminary qualifying round, a knockout round and a final.
A draw is scheduled for August 15 to determine the group stage fixtures. The set-up of the under 17 tourney will enable both boys’ and girls’ teams the chance to assess their teamwork and individual skills against some of the best talents across Africa.
The tourney is expected to attract some of Africa powerhouses in the under 17 age group including Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, DRC pitted against upcoming nations such as Tanzania, Gabon, Malawi, Kenya, Burkina Faso amongst others.
The championships will be formally unveiled by Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga to be graced by Ambassadors representing the rest of 14 nations slated to take part in the tourney. Over 500 budding players are expected to travel to Nairobi.
Commenting on the inaugural Africa Championships, Airtel Africa’s chief marketing officer Andre Beyers said the Airtel Africa Championship is a natural product of “the exciting and dazzling skills” which they have seen showcased in the on-going Airtel Rising Stars initiative.
The tournament provides the perfect melting pot of talent, cultures and passion exhibited during the Airtel Rising across Africa, he said.
“By designing a bigger stage for the teams and future stars, Airtel is sending a message to the participants, coaches, soccer enthusiasts on our long term support for sports and activities that empower and celebrate talent,” Beyers added.
Airtel said that as part of its “partnership with DSTV’s sports channel, Super Sports, the Boys and Girls final matches will be broadcasted live on 25th August 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, says Airtel.
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 Congolese crooner Papa Wemba, Nigerian Artist Tuface, Tanzanian Rapper AY and Kenyan Gospel artist Daddy Owen.