480 Youngsters Scale Through Airtel Open Camp For Under 17

By Emmanuel Otokhine

Lagos, Nigeria; September 8, 2011:After three weeks of nation-wide football activities, a total of 480 youngsters, males and females, have been shortlisted for the Zonal Airtel Close camp in the on-going Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Football Tournament in Nigeria.

The camp activities will hold simultaneously across eight zones across the country on the 13thand 14th of September, 2011. The youngsters were picked after a rigorous three day skill assessment exercise by the coordinating coaches. The youth were drilled using a three-way test parameter, game intelligence, physique and techniques. The programme is sponsored by leading telecommunication service provider, Airtel Nigeria.

The Airtel closed camp will take place in Lagos, Owerri, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Gombe, Kanu, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Jos. 30 players (30 boys and 30 girls respectively) emerged from the Airtel Open camp and are now required to slug it out at the Closed camp in the various Zones.

The Airtel Open Camp, a preliminary stage of the Airtel Rising Stars Football programme was held between August and the first week of September across the country in selected centres. About 6,000 youngsters registered for the programme. The country was divided into eight zones: Lagos 1 & 2, North East, North West, North Central, South West, South East, South South, with screening centres in the following cities, Lagos, Owerri, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Jos.

The Open Camp featured a lot of activities ranging from ball-handling, footwork and positioning, ball receiving and shooting techniques to individual work on proper technique. It also included mental skills session, communication workshop, life skills and an-all football clinic with Nwankwo Kanu, former skipper of Nigeria's Super Eagles who is the Tournament Partner.

Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) provides a platform for upcoming soccer talents under 17 years of age, both male and female, to showcase their skills to leading scouts and coaches. Industry observers have termed it 'a unique innovation and a clear statement of the company's policy as an equal opportunity and non-discriminatory player.'

At the end of the two-day closed camp, 15 boys and 15 girls from each of the zones will be selected for the National Championship in Lagos. After a 3-day competition involving the eight teams in each category, three most valuable players in each category will proceed to South Africa in October for a soccer boot camp and also for further training and development at the prestigious Institute for Sports

The best team of the tournament at the national championship will be rewarded with a cash prize, the second best will also get cash prize while the third best will receive cash and individual honour and rewards.