ARS 4 National Finals Will Discover Future Football Stars – Technical Advisers
Lagos, Nigeria; 31 July, 2014: Ex-Nigerian Internationals appointed as technical adviser to the boy and girls teams of the U-17 Airtel Rising Stars Season 4 football Championship have said the National Finals of the tourney which commenced Wednesday in Lagos at Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology (Yaba Tech), Akoka is replete with promising young players who can achieve great feats in the forthcoming ARS Africa Championship in Gabon and also fly the country's flag in future international football tournaments.
Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah, Ann Chiejine and Garba Lawal who are currently serving as technical advisers and mentors to Port Harcourt, Enugu and Abuja Teams respectively, made this observation at the Yaba Tech., venue of the ARS 4 National Finals where football lovers across Lagos as well as students from the institution were treated to exciting soccer actions as finals of the tourney kicked off.
Technical Adviser to Team Port Harcourt, Chioma Ajunwa said: 'From the first day of the national finals we can see boy and girls who have proven to be budding football stars and need to be supported to achieve their football dreams. They have displayed football talents and quality skills that can be nurtured to represent Nigeria in the African Championship. We know that the national final is not all about the teams winning their matches but for the players to display fantastic skills.'
The Port Harcourt male team played a 0-0 draw with their Enugu counterpart while the female team defeated their Abuja counterpart 2-0.
On her part, Ann Chiejine who mentors the Enugu male and female team said the ARS Championship is a robust platform created by Airtel Nigeria to develop grassroots football in Nigeria and as well discover football talents.
In her words: 'Airtel Nigeria deserves kudos for giving these youths this opportunity to express themselves, with this platform many of these youths will be discovered. The U-17 players are very important in developing out football in Nigeria. We have seen good players who can represent Nigeria in the African Championship in Gabon and even represent the country in future events.'
She commended her team for showing courage in their opening matches. She also noted that the national finals was not about winning but helping these youths to discover themselves and make Nigeria proud.
Technical adviser to the Abuja male and female Teams, Garba Lawal, noted his teams despite the unimpressive outing will gradually improve as the championship continues, adding that they had chances which they were unable to convert. The Abuja male team played a 0-0 draw with Enugu, while the female team lost 2-0 to their Port Harcourt counterpart.
Meanwhile, students of Yaba College of Technology have commended the leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, for the Airtel Risign Stars initiative and its smooth organisation.
Richard Manuwa, 21, an Electrical Electronic Students of the institution said: 'The football Championship has provided huge opportunities for these young boys and girls to be discovered. It is indeed a laudable initiative.'
In the same vein, ND 1 student, Ahmed Ogunsola of the Mass Communications department noted that the ARS tourney accommodates thousands of youths who probably lack platforms to express themselves and discover their talents. So Airtel deserves to be commended.
Other students commended the smooth organisation and nature of the event, saying the quality of the matches and the officiating show the huge commitment of Airtel towards developing football in Nigeria.
The National Finals of the ARS Season 4 football championship is a 4-day event which commenced on 30th July and will run till 2nd August, 2014. Packed with exciting soccer actions, five zonal champions, Lagos, Enugu, Kwara, Port Harcourt and Abuja are contesting for the trophy. 16 outstanding male and 16 female players will be selected among the teams in the National Finals to represent Nigeria at the Africa Championship in Gabon.
The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Tourney, a unique pan African initiative of Airtel Africa, is designed to provide support for the development of football talents across Nigeria. 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.