Telecommunication service provider,Airtel Kenya has today announced the launch of Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) 2016 injecting Ksh.12 million in the under-17 soccer tournament.
Today’s Launch of the Rising Stars Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) Term 2B national ball games marks the sixth edition of the talent search programme.
The tournament which has attracted more than 2000 participants this year will be conducted in eight regions which include Metropolitan (formerly NBI Province), Northern region (Garissa), Aberdare (Central), Coastal region (Shanzu), Nzoia region (western), Mau (Rift Valley), Lake region (Nyanza) and Highlands (Eastern- at Kangaru High School in Embu).
Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi says, “the Youth are important to us and we believe in providing them with tools that will not only empower them, but give them a platform to contribute positively to the development of this Country. Our biggest dream for the Airtel Rising Stars is not only to raise players who will be marketable locally but also internationally.”
Eric “Marcelo” Ouma and Michael “Engineer” Olunga coming to mind and it is very encouraging to note that the girls’ game has started out churning out big names of its own.
Mwanahalima Adam “Dogo”, a student at St. John’s Kaloleni, has featured in previous editions of the tournament and was a vital cog of the Harambee Starlets, the women’s national football side that created history by qualifying for the women’s Africa Cup of Nation finals set to take place later in the year.
Director of Quality Assurance and Standards Jared Obiero called on local clubs and football Authorities to seek ways and means to support the vast pool of talent that continues to be identified through the Airtel Rising stars.
Mr Obiero noted that the success of ARS is testament to the fact that football has a unique ability to connect and empower communities, as well as to create a positive community impact from the grassroots to a national level.
Passenga Boys from Aberdare region and Wiyeta Girls from Nzoia region are last year’s Airtel Rising Stars secondary schools Term Two ‘B’ national winners.
Passenga beat Metropolitan’s Region Laiser Hill 1-0 in hard-fought boys’ final while Wiyeta edged Kobala Girls from Lake Region 1-0 in the girls’ final to be crowned the new champions.
The regional finals of the search for fresh and promising talent will be held across the eight regions from 6th to 17th July 2016 while the national finals will be held in Kisumu from 1st to 6th August 2016.