Five youngsters for Airtel Rising Stars Football Clinic in South Africa

By Emmanuel Otokhine

Lagos, Nigeria; September 27, 2011: After months of rigorous screening exercises and competitive football matches in the on-going Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) football tournament, five players - two boys and three girls – have been selected to attend an exclusive football clinic at the prestigious South African Institute of Sports in Cape Town, South Africa.

The players who emerged after a careful selection conducted by officials from the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) will join talented youths from select African countries for an intensive football development programme that will last for a full week.

The names of the Nigerian players who made the short-list of five include: Muri Lawal, a Port-Harcourt based attacker; Chibuzor Obasi, a midfielder that represented South East Zone in the ARS National finals and Adamu Abubakar, a goal keeper who played for South East Zone at the ARS National finals.

The girls selected for the clinic were: Onwuana Ngozi, an Owerri based midfielder and Josephine Mathias, a midfielder that represented North Central Zone with Kaduna at the ARS finals in Lagos.

All the five players were selected based on their youthfulness; strong technical, physical and mental abilities; good tactical abilities and general discipline. They also participated at all the screening levels of the Airtel Rising Stars programme including an open camp where over 3,000 youths participated nationwide, and a closed camp that featured 480 talented footballers under the age of 17.

Speaking on Airtel's role in the international football clinic, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava said the company is passionate about creating exciting platforms and the right environment to develop and inspire talented Nigerians.

He noted that the football clinic will offer the selected youngsters amazing opportunities to improve their football skills and also offer them wide networking opportunities, stating that Airtel will continue to focus on its ambition of being the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians.

“We are committed to go the required length to emerge the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians. We will continue to seek and create opportunities that will excite and engage Nigerians,” Srivastava said.

The Airtel Rising Stars football clinic, which will last for a week will be supervised by leading football figures and will focus on transforming the selected talents to become future stars that will rule African soccer.

The clinic will feature a robust football programme that will include: skill-demonstration; ball-handling, footwork and positioning; ball receiving and shooting technique. Others will include: getting shape and distance; individual work on proper technique; mental skills session; communication workshop, life skills; team matches and football clinic with A-list footballers.

The nine zones participated in Airtel Rising stars: North West, North East, North Central, North Basin, South East, South West, South Delta, Lagos metro, Lagos North, with centres in Kano, Gombe, Kaduna, Jos, Owerri, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abeokuta respectively.

The Airtel Rising Stars is an initiative of Airtel Africa. It is designed to give a unique opportunity to boys and girls under 17 years of age to develop, demonstrate and trade their football talents.