Airtel launches football talent search in Nigeria with Kanu, 2Face

By Bharti Airtel

Lagos, Nigeria; July 11, 2011: Leading Telecommunications services operator, Airtel Nigeria today unveiled an ambitious soccer talent programme that will focus on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.

Nigerian football and music Icons, Kanu Nwankwo and 2Face Idibia joined Airtel in the launch of the programme which is tagged Airtel Rising Stars.

The event which was held in Lagos, Nigeria, attracted leading figures from Nigerian sporting cycle, key practitioners in the education sector, students, youths from football academy, and journalists despite the heavy downpour in the city in the last two days.

Registration for the program will commence soon.

The Airtel Rising Stars is an Africa-wide program that will provide a platform for upcoming soccer talent under the age of seventeen to showcase their skills to leading scouts, coaches and have an opportunity to further their football skills. The initiative targets boys and girls across the country.

The program will be organized in the format of regional and national tournaments culminating in an exclusive football camp in South Africa. The Football camp will be run under the aegis of the Sport Science Institute of South Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Deepak Srivastava said: “The Airtel rising stars program is designed to provide a structured platform for scouts, coaches, football authorities and other partners to tap into a vast pool of upcoming talent, courtesy of the program and build strong soccer talent feeder systems for our league and national teams”.

Srivastava added that Airtel will work very closely with all the relevant bodies overseeing the sports in Nigeria and the Nigerian Football Federation to integrate the program with local under 17 plans for both girls and boys.

Some of the dignitaries at the event included the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, Chief Operating Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava, Presidents of the Youth Sports Federation (YSFON), Alhaji Babatunde Ojulari, President of Nigerian School Sports Federation (NSSF), Umar Ibrahim, and Secretary General of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Alhaji Laheem Saheed Olusegun.

Others included the Chief Marketing Officer of Airtel Nigeria, George Andah, Chief Sales Officer, Airtel, Inusa Bello, Director, Public Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Education Secretary of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government, Ajegunle, Lagos.

Also commenting on the launch; Airtel Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers said: “Football has the ability to connect and empower communities through the passion it elicits from fans and the ability of players to learn great teamwork and the accompanying life's lessons. Airtel seeks initiatives that create positive community impact from the grassroots to a national level.”

The registration forms will be available from Airtel offices in the several cities and towns.