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YSFON, NSSF Endorse Airtel Rising Stars 2

By Uche Peter
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Lagos, Nigeria; March 12, 2012: Grassroots football federating bodies, the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) and the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) have thrown their full weight behind the Airtel Rising Stars soccer tournament, describing the programme as a positive development which will empower talented young people across the country to succeed as professional footballers.

Speaking, recently in Lagos, at a media event to announce the commencement of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) 2, National President of the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Mallam Ibrahim Mohammed described the ARS initiative as timely and strategic for development of grassroots football just as he commended Airtel for initiating and sustaining a robust programme that has impacted positively ontalented, young boys and girls.

According to Mallam Mohammed, the NSSF is “particularly happy that Airtel is providing the opportunity to discover and nurture our young ones into future stars. If a company like Airtel does not come to our aid, it will be extremely difficult for us to succeed in our efforts to help our gifted youngsters.

“Without a doubt, partnering with Airtel in this ARS initiative will definitely help in our quest of identifying and supporting thousands upon thousands of underprivileged young boys and girls who are naturally talented.”

In his remarks, National Secretary, Youths Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Mr. Patrick Okpavuerheurged the telecoms operator not to relent in its efforts at developing grassroots football across the nation, noting that the ARS initiative is coming at the right time.

“We were encouraged and motivated by the support we received from Airtel with the maiden edition of ARS. The company displayed a lot of passion and commitment in their efforts to develop our grass-root football. Indeed, we are also happy that the telecoms operator has elected to increase its scope of support for this year's edition of the Airtel Rising Stars. With this kind of support, we will definitely get it right as far as soccer is concerned in Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, tournament organizer and sponsor, Airtel Nigeria, said the Airtel Rising Stars tournament is aimed at building and sustaining a rich pool of football talents for future national teams.

This year's edition of the ARS U-17 will cover most states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Unlike the maiden edition, ARS 2 will run in a league format with activations over six stages and will include intra-state, state championship, zonal champions' league, national tournament, inter-country camp and national tour.

Beginning with intra-state leagues, the ARS 2 train will move to the inter-state zonal champions league phase from where winners of state championships will slug it out with one another to determine the zonal flag bearers at the Lagos National Tournament. A total of eight male and female teams covering eight zones will participate at the National finals.

The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Tourney, a unique pan African initiative of Airtel Africa, is designed to provide support for the development of football talents across her African markets. It aims at discovering talented students (male and female) of secondary school age and providing them the opportunity to gain football skills and develop into renowned stars.

Registration forms for this year's edition of ARS 2 are available for interested U-17 boys and girls at Airtel Shops and Channel partners' outlets nationwide, State Education boards/schools and YSFON offices nationwide.