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Kanu Nwankwo, Tuface Idibia, ready for Airtel Rising Stars National finals

By Emmanuel Otokhine
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Lagos, Nigeria: 14thSeptember, 2011. Two Nigerian icons, Kanu Nwankwo, and Tuface Idibia, have been lined up as star attraction at the finals of the exciting Airtel's Under 17 football talent hunt programme, Airtel Rising Stars tournament which began across the country in July, 2011.

According to Airtel Nigeria, the huge followers of Nigeria's former Super Eagle's captain, Kanu, and iconic musician, Tuface, will have a swell time as the duo put a final touch to what they started together several months ago at the National Institute of Sports, Surulere, Lagos, venue of the media launch of Airtel Rising Stars.

Airtel Rising Stars national finals will take place this weekend (16th to 18thSeptember, 2011) at the Campos Square, Lagos Island. Indications also show that the venue of the much-expected final has been finalised to handle the huge crowd expected to grace the occasion.

Part of the highlights of events include, the kick-off of the final match by Kanu Nwankwo and a concert featuring Tuface Idibia and prize presentation by an array of VIPs.

Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) provides a platform for upcoming soccer talents under 17 years of age, in Africa, both male and female, to showcase their skills to leading scouts and coaches

15 boys and 15 girls were selected per Zone from across the country for the National Championship in Lagos at the closed camp from a pool of 30 boys and 30 girls respectively per zone that emerged from the Airtel Open camp.

The participants in the closed camp were selected by a team of highly experienced and professionally disciplined coaches through a rigorous skill assessment exercises at the various venues. The youth were drilled using a three-way test parameter, game intelligence, physique and techniques.

Speaking about the ARS national finals, the Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director, Airtel, Deepak Srivastava, said 'the choice of the two popular Nigerians in this youth talent hunt was informed by the need to inspire a good majority of Nigerian youngsters to aim for the top, adding that the two stars have climbed to the top of the their chosen career through hard work and right application of their talents

To get to the national finals, young Nigerians aged 17 and below, got registered for the Airtel Rising Stars Tournament in eight hubs across Nigeria, which yielded over 5000 participants after three weeks. These persons proceeded to open camps in eight zones - Jos, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kaduna and Ibadan. Other zones where the open camp took place were: Owerri, Lagos, Kano and Abeokuta. At the end of the open camps, 30 boys and 30 girls emerged from each zone and got into closed camp in the various zones.