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Kanu Nwankwo to Dazzle Youths as Airtel Rising Stars Camp Opens in Lagos Today

By Emmanuel Otokhine
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Lagos, Nigeria; August 31st, 2011:As leading telecommunication service provider, Airtel opens another talent hunt Open Camp in Lagos today, Thursday, September 1, 2011, Soccer Icon and former African Footballer of the Year, Kanu Nwankwo will be on hand to motivate and drive the young boys and girls who will turn up for the screening exercise to do their best and qualify for the next round

The Airtel Open Camp which is designed for boys and girls under 17 years of age in Lagos and Ogun States will commence at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos this morning. Thousands of youth who have indicated interest in the programme via registration are expected to meet and interact with Papilo as Kanu Nwankwo and Supporter of the Airtel Rising stars is fondly called, at the venue today.

Major features of the Airtel Rising Stars programme include skill-demonstration; ball-handling, footwork and positioning; ball receiving and shooting technique. Others include: getting shape and distance; individual work on proper technique; mental skills session; communication workshop, life skills; team matches and football clinic with Kanu Nwankwo, among others.

The Airtel Open Camp is part of the preliminary stages of the Airtel Rising Stars tournament. The journey to discover fresh football talents who are under the age of 17 started in Nigeria on August 18th with the commencement of Open Camp activities in several cities and the programme will run for three weeks.

At the end of the Airtel Open camp programme, selected participants will go into a Closed Camp. 15 boys and 15 girls will be selected in the Zones for the National Championship in Lagos. After the competition involving teams that came through the eight Zonal centres: Lagos, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Ibadan, Benin and Port Harcourt, outstanding talents will be selected including three most valuable players in each category who will then proceed to South Africa in October for a soccer boot camp and also for further training and development at the prestigious South African Institute for Sports.

The unique feature of Airtel Rising Stars is that it provides a platform for both male and female upcoming soccer talents under 17 years of age to showcase their skills to leading scouts and coaches. This is seen by sport administrators and talent coaches as 'a distinctive opportunities for girls to also rise to stardom early like the boys as well as a clear statement of Airtel' policy as an equal opportunity and non-discriminatory player.

Speaking on the Airtel Rising Stars, Chief Operating Officer and executive Director, Deepak Srivastava said 'Airtel is desirous of assisting Nigeria in the areas of youth empowerment and development, noting that giving the youth an opportunity to discover and develop their football talent through ARS, was a major step in that direction.

He said, bringing the participating youth face to face with a footfall Icon such as Kanu Nwankwo and providing an opportunity for them to interact with him was a major strategy to boost the confidence of these youths and motivate them to learn the robes and aspire to become stars themselves.

Airtel Open Camps have been held in Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Jos in the first week; Kano, Kaduna and Gombe, in the second week. A similar Open Camp will also take place in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Friday, September 2nd with Kanu Nwankwo providing the pep for the kids.

A total of 5, 884 teenagers who registered for the Tournament, have been at various Open Camps from Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Jos, Gombe, Kano and Kaduna since 18th August. The Airtel Rising Stars is an initiative of Airtel Africa, designed to give a unique opportunity to boys and girls under 17 years of age, to develop, demonstrate and trade their football talents from August 18 to October 2011.

At the end of the Zonal Open Camps, the talent hunt train will switch to a Closed Camp in Abuja and thereafter, the successful participants will proceed to the National Tournament where they will go through a series of tough football competition and training during which talented players will be picked for the finals.

The best team of the tournament at the national championship will be rewarded with a cash prize of One Million naira (N1,000,000), the second best with Five Hundred Thousand naira (N500,000) while the third best will receive three hundred thousand naira (N300,000) coupled with individual honours and rewards.